Comedian Bill Cosby to Support Grassroots Movement Against Massachusetts Fracked Gas Pipeline
Comedian Bill Cosby and his wife Camille will not be present at the Massachusetts State House on July 30, 2014, but will be lending their enthusiastic voices supporting protesters delivering petitions against the proposed Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP). The 250-mile long Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline would transport natural gas produced by fracking from the western part of the state to a distribution center in the Boston suburbs. It has prompted a massive protest movement uniting landowners, local politicians, farmers, environmentalists and conservationists. Lawmakers from 22 local municipalities have passed resolutions against the project. Kinder Morgan is set to submit an application for approval of the project to federal regulators in September. Although Bill and Camille Cosby are unable to attend the final day of the rally, their daughter Erin Cosby will be representing the Cosbys on the steps of the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday.
Bruce Winn, President of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Rosemary Wessel, Founder of the No Fracked Gas In Mass, Katy Eiseman, director of MassPlan, the statewide coalition against the pipeline and an impacted landowner and rally/march organizer will meet with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Wednesday afternoon.
The grassroots response is exactly the outcome the Cosbys feel is the best chance to circumvent the wide scale potential for environmental, economic, public safety and public health damage the project could likely cause. The event in Boston on Wednesday marks the end of the "Rolling Rally" that began on July 6 in Richmond, MA, southwest of Pittsfield, MA, at the New York border. Participants in the march walked across each community and passed along a symbolic piece of pipe to the next group of marchers from the next town at the city limits.
"We honor your collaborative determination and strength to oppose the Kinder-Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline's plan to penetrate our region with its toxicities," said the Cosbys in a recently released statement about the protest movement. "(The project) has political allies; such as, all six New England governors. That is astounding. Those entities are clear examples of disrespect for humans, flora and fauna. Thank you for challenging its egregious, exploitive strategies to encroach this magnificent area."
As longtime residents and dedicated environmental activists, the Cosbys have purchased land holdings in Western Massachusetts over the decades for preservation rather than investment, donating hundreds of acres in the pristine countryside to the Franklin Land Trust for conservation. The couple first heard of the project when they were among the many landowners receiving letters asking for permission by the pipeline company to survey their property. More than half of the landowners have rejected the company's request.