Ninety-eight-year-old Frances Crowe was arrested on Saturday in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, after she led a group of eight pipeline protesters in a mock funeral for the fossil fuel age near the site of a gas pipeline expansion. In a wheelchair, Crowe led members of anti-fossil fuels activist group the Sugar Shack Alliance as they brought a coffin to the site of the Kinder Morgan pipeline project with the intention of burying the coffin in the hole where the pipeline was going to be built. Speaking with CNN affiliate News10, Crowe said they had set the coffin down in front of construction vehicles when police told them to stop. When they refused, Crowe and the other eight protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing.
During Saturday’s mock funeral, a bicycle hearse pulled a cardboard coffin while protesters sang, “The tide is rising, and so are we.” As the procession passed through a throng of protesters, an activist threw items symbolizing oil spills, corporate greed, and climate change into the coffin.
Activists have opposed the pipeline extension on the basis that it travels directly through protected wetland and a sacred Native American burial site — all on public land protected by Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution. According to Sugar Shack Alliance member Vivienne Simon, the pipeline isn’t even intended to bring extra fuel to the area as Kinder Morgan claims, but is instead being built as a place to store extra natural gas before it’s exported. She and 31 others, Simon said, had already been arrested during four protests against the pipeline. In the wake of Saturday’s arrests, Simon added, most of the group had volunteered to get arrested as well in a show of support for Crowe, who Simon described as a local legend.
“She’s a 98-year-old dynamo,” said Simon. “She’s really quite extraordinary.”
Crowe, a Northampton resident and grandmother of five, was a peace activist in WWII who has already faced arrest multiple times for protesting. Speaking about her choice to protest at such an old age, she said she was sick of the state pandering to fossil fuel companies and that, as a retired person, she had plenty of time to take action.
“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.”
Read the full story at CNN.