Letter: Court decision behind the curve

Published: 5/25/2016 5:57:08 PM

Judge John A. Agostini’s recent decision to allow Kinder Morgan to bite off a hunk of the Otis State Forest, in contravention of Article 97 of the Commonwealth’s constitution, reminds us that courts are usually behind the curve on issues of major societal impact.

Thus 18th century British judges upheld the doctrines that women were the property of their husbands and unions were illegal. A century later, American courts were still perpetuating slavery, and in the succeeding century, they were busy knocking down Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts to end the Depression.

Yes, as the judge wrote, it would be difficult to establish a national energy policy unless federal law trumped state law. But the Kinder Morgan pipelines have nothing to do with federal energy policy and everything to do with wielding the power of eminent domain for private gain. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is supposed to act for the common good, yet instead it is rubber-stamping these proposed pipelines, even though they harm our common environment and undercut the federal aim of reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

To see through this perversion of federal law and call it an unconscionable grab for profits requires bravery and vision. Judge Agostini apparently has neither.

Dale C. Moss

Shelburne Falls


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