To the editor:

The grassroots Connecticut Expansion pipeline protestors are unpaid, peaceful volunteers despite what was recently opined in this paper. I've met with several of the protesting groups and leaders and know them fairly well.

A Berkshire Eagle letter dated Dec. 31 composed by Stephen C. Dodge, executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council asserts that these Connecticut Expansion protestors are part of a "richly funded protest campaign," are law-breaking and, by implication, are non-transparent in their actions against the fracked gas pipeline developer Kinder Morgan.

They do not protest "in hopes of getting arrested in order to make a political point" as Mr. Dodge petulantly states. It seems that he is a registered lobbyist in Massachusetts for 2017, one of three working for the American Petroleum Institute here.

These Western Mass. residents respectfully protest this pipeline at the construction site to protect our state forests, Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution and Spectacle Pond out of desperation because they have exhausted their legal remedies to stop it. Peaceful protesting is not a criminal act.

In this case, Western Mass. community groups called Sugar Shack Alliance and Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposed to the Pipeline helped to organize these fracked gas pipeline protestors. Unlike what Mr. Dodge states, their financial support is primarily based on the receipt of small, local donations.

Attend one of their meetings and learn for yourself that no one in these citizen groups is paid a penny since all members volunteer their time and efforts. They have no hidden agenda either, I might add.

They know that we don't need more fossil fuels, and know that our reliance on more gas, and fossil fuels in general, wreaks havoc on our air, soil and water.

Other community-based citizen groups such as No Fracked Gas in MA., 350 MA-Berkshires and Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline have also been protesting this Kinder Morgan pipeline for the same reasons.

All of these concerned environmental groups are truly our earth protectors and, indeed, the only paid people herein are the conspiring corporatists working directly for the fossil fuel industry itself.

Indeed, Mr. Dodge's theories (consider the source) about the protestors have no basis in fact, are completely non-sourced and are a perfect example of the bellowing BIG LIE. You know the drill: keep lying loud and long enough to anyone who will listen and maybe someone will believe you.

Bob Connors,

Canaan, NY

The writer is co-founder Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline.