Northfield 350th Presents “The People v. The Pipeline”: Testimony 

And Lessons Learned from The People Who Were There


October 23, 2023

Contact: Joan and Steve Stoia, Community Engagement

Northfield 350th Anniversary

(Cell) 413-835-1269

Northfield 350th Presents “The People v. The Pipeline”: Testimony 

And Lessons Learned from The People Who Were There

NORTHFIELD   Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  In keeping with her spirit, the Northfield Oral History Project of the 350th Anniversary program of 2023 will present a multi-media production called “The People vs. The Pipeline” on Sunday, November 12 at 105 Main Street in Northfield at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and there is plenty of onsite parking.

“The People vs. The Pipeline” is the story of the diverse strategies employed and the actions that took place between 2014 and 2016, as told by the participants in their own words, that ultimately helped stop the Northeast Direct (NED) fracked gas pipeline proposed for the region by the Kinder Morgan Company of Houston, Texas.  Originating in the Pennsylvania gas fields, the pipeline was intended to traverse New York State, part of New Hampshire and numbers of small Massachusetts towns in Franklin County and beyond.  Compressor stations to push the fracked gas were to be sited along the way to Eastern Massachusetts; one of those compressor stations was planned for Northfield. 

The production features the voices of local citizens, elected officials and tribal representatives, and efforts by local and state government–even our former Attorney General—sharing research on demand for gas, on Indigenous ceremonial stone structures and sacred sites in the path of the construction and scientific data on the deleterious effects of toxic “blow downs” from compressor stations on public health, especially that of children and seniors.  Oral testimonies are interspersed with photographs and video of some of the public hearings, demonstrations, protests, public multi-day walks and other activities undertaken to highlight the coming threat to communities along the path and false claims about the need for the gas.  Music will be provided by Carrie and Michael Kline, consultants to the Northfield Oral History Project, musicians and founders of “Talking Across the Lines.”  Document compilation and editing was completed by Cate Woolner, Stephen Stoia and Joan Stoia with production assistance by Robbie Leppzer, Bernardston-Northfield Community Media (BNCTV) and Greenfield Community Television (GCTV).  The all-volunteer cast includes: Court Dorsey, William Spademan, Steve Stoia, Mary Johnson, Steven Botkin, Joan Levy and Cate Woolner, with Shirley Keech as former Attorney General, now governor, Maura Healey.  Artwork was provided by  Laura Kaye.  The audience will be able to identify the bad guys; they’re the ones wearing the black hats.

Using actual testimonies from the people who were there, music and a little bit of humor, the story of the pipeline brings the 350th Anniversary toward its close with the telling of a major contemporary event that confronted Northfield and its neighbors within the past decade.  The production is funded by a matching grant from the Grassroots Fund of New England.  Support for the Northfield Oral History Project was provided by an allocation obtained by Senator Jo Comerford’s Office.  The organizers hope that the lessons learned will be of use to other small communities facing similar challenges in the future.  

The Northfield 350th Anniversary continues with a holiday family marionette performance of “Cinderella” and the Magic Wings Butterfly traveling exhibit on December 16, a concert by Da Camera Singers on December 2, and a final town-wide luminaria on December 31, 2023.  For more information contact Joan and Steve Stoia, 413-835-1269, or visit  Photo: DPU Hearing, Greenfield Middle School.