To the editor:
After yet another Eagle story about the Massachusetts State Police's safe, successful, and professional handling of anti-energy-infrastructure protests in Sandisfield (Eagle, Dec. 27), we think your coverage demands a reality check.
Let's get real about what actually happened here: Dozens of people traveled to Sandisfield, often from hundreds of miles away, specifically in hopes of getting arrested in order to make a political point. With zero injuries and zero complaints of police brutality, the state police enforced our laws against criminal trespass — and arrested people who wanted to be arrested.
Especially after the violence and sabotage perpetrated by anti-pipeline protesters elsewhere in the country, protecting public safety was a critical priority for the state police in Sandisfield. The hours of police details required on site reflected the reality of a determined and apparently lavishly funded opposition, much of it coming not just from out of the county but out of the state to stage made-for-media protests for months on end. It is bizarre for The Eagle to imply that the state police were doing anything questionable by reaching out to Kinder Morgan before these completely predictable protests occurred. In fact, it was proactive, professional public-safety management work to have a plan in place.
We can only imagine the criticism if our state police had not planned ahead as prudently as they did for handling these protests. It's equally bizarre for protesters who did everything they possibly could do to maximize the need for police details and arrests in Sandisfield to then complain about the cost for the details and the arrests — especially when that cost was borne 100 percent by the private company targeted by this richly funded protest campaign.
Stephen C. Dodge,
The writer is the executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council.