|   | 

Wheelchair-bound grandmother, 98, is arrested for protesting a natural gas pipeline in Massachusetts - her third detention since turning 90

  • Frances Crowe, 98, was arrested at the Otis State Forest in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday
  • The elderly woman and seven others went on restricted land where a pipeline is being built and were arrested when they refused to leave
  • It was the third time Crowe, a well-known activist and grandmother of five, has been arrested since she turned 90
  • Opponents to the pipeline say it's unnecessary and object to the fact that it will run through protected wetlands and Native American burial grounds

A 98-year-old Massachusetts woman in a wheelchair who was arrested last weekend for blocking construction of a natural gas pipeline remained defiant at her arraignment.

Frances Crowe and seven co-defendants had their criminal trespass charges reduced to civil infractions Thursday at Southern Berkshire District Court and were released pending a July 18 hearing.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that on the steps of the courthouse, the Northampton woman said her actions are about 'the future of life on the planet'.

The grandmother-of-five from Northampton asked: 'Are the corporations going to rule the future, or will people rise up and say no?'

Frances Crowe, 98, was arrested on Saturday for protesting a pipeline in Massachusetts

Frances Crowe, 98, was arrested on Saturday for protesting a pipeline in Massachusetts

The grandmother-of-five from Northampton was among eight arrested during the protest

The grandmother-of-five from Northampton was among eight arrested during the protest

She was protesting an easement that allows the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to widen its right of way through the forest, connecting two pre-existing pipelines

She was protesting an easement that allows the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to widen its right of way through the forest, connecting two pre-existing pipelines

'Corporations come and go, but life is in jeopardy,' she said.

Crowe is a well-known peace and environmental activist. She was arrested Saturday at Otis State Forest in Sandisfield. She was protesting an easement that allows the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to widen its right of way through the forest, connecting two pre-existing pipelines.

She led the group in holding a mock funeral for the fossil fuel industry. They crossed into a restricted area and were planning on trying to bury a coffin in the hold dug up for the $93million pipeline, but were arrested before they got a chance.

Following her arrest, the Sugar Shack Alliance, an activist group which Crowe is a member of, released a picture of her being led out of the area in a wheelchair by officers.

Crowe has been arrested three times since turning 90. She's pictured above at her Thursday court date

Crowe has been arrested three times since turning 90. She's pictured above at her Thursday court date

'Crowe put herself – and her wheelchair – in a contested area of the Otis State Forest in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, to protest the construction of a planned 3.8 mile pipeline loop owned by Kinder Morgan and affiliate Tennessee Gas Pipeline, on 17 acres of the conserved Otis State Forest that contains biologically-important wetlands, and sacred Native American sites,' the Alliance wrote in a press release. 'The pipeline was intended to store fracked methane gas originally proposed to serve customers in Connecticut.'

Supporters of the pipeline said it will bring more fuel to the area, notable to nearby residents in Connecticut. But opponents say the area already has enough fuel and that the pipeline will mostly be used as a storage vessel before the energy is shipped overseas.

Locals are particularly weary about the project since another pipeline exploded, causing an evacuation of part of the town.

The pipeline also runs through protected wetlands and a sacred Native American burial site.

'We don't need to dig up the soil for a pipeline,' Crowe told News10. 'Solar and wind will take care of all of the energy needs for the state.'

Crowe has been a lifelong protester. She's pictured above speaking to then-Massachusetts Gov. William Weld at a protest event in Northampton in 1996

Crowe has been a lifelong protester. She's pictured above speaking to then-Massachusetts Gov. William Weld at a protest event in Northampton in 1996

Crowe has been a protester nearly her whole life, and is somewhat of a local legend. During World War II, when she was in her 20s, she was a peace activist. During the Vietnam War, she helped counsel conscientious objectors, and was arrested for spray-painting 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' on casings of missile tubes at a nuclear submarine base in Connecticut.

Another issue that she has constantly fought against is nuclear power. She was arrested a total of nine times for trespassing near the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station.

This weekend's arrest was her third arrest since turning 90.

The others arrested in the protect included Dennis Carr, 59, of Cummington, Eric Burcroff, 57, of Plainfield, Ellen Graves, 76, of West Springfield, Priscilla Lynch, 65, of Conway, Elizabeth Ramirez, 47, of Holyoke, Laura Simon, 63, of Wilder, Vt. and Constance Harvard, 69, of Northampton.

Tags News

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

related articles