Massachusetts has agreed to a $640,000 settlement from Kinder Morgan to allow the company to run a pipeline through conservation land in Berkshire County on its way from New York to Connecticut.
The money will be spent on “mitigation and improvements” in the Otis State Forest and also to buy more conservation land in the area.
Katy Eiseman of the Massachusetts Pipeline Awareness Network said Thursday that she’s disappointed, but not surprised by the settlement. But she said groups like hers will keep fighting.
“That is now where people have to turn — is to the non-governmental organizations — if the state is not gong to protect the protected land,” she said.
Eiseman said opponents continue to object to the pipeline based on water quality concerns, and the disruption of stone walls important to Native American tribes.
Still, the settlement effectively ends the argument over Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, which says conservation land can only be disrupted with legislative consent.
A judge previously ruled that federal regulators’ approval of the pipeline took precedence over the state constitution.
While Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said Thursday that it will not appeal that decision, it insists the settlement sets a high bar to prioritize conservation in the state.