Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter dropped all charges against Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara for blocking a coal shipment for nearly a day to the Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, MA.
Holding high Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone article, A Call to Arms, the D.A. said “I do believe they’re right, that we’re at a crisis point with climate change. Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced,” Sutter said. “In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking.” He went on to vow to join the People’s Climate March in New York City, September 21.
Monday evening, Bill McKibben spoke at Lesley University where his book Eaarth was the assigned reading. Referring to D.A Sutter’s actions he said: “I was moved in a way that I can’t remember being moved by a public official in a long time. It’s easy to get cynical about politicians, and then one of them shows a real maturity and grace.”
The Energy Enterprise, a 700 foot long freighter hauling about 40,000 tons of coal slated for the Somerset power plant was blockaded by a lobster boat named the Henry David Thoreau, the father of civil disobedience during the Mexican-American War.
The local police employed a salvage operator to haul the 200 lb anchor with lobster boat attached out of the way and coal was delivered.
When Hancock and his merry men held the Boston Tea Party they were not made to pay expenses incurred. The two lobstermen blockaders of the Enterprise were made to pay $4,000 to the local police for their nautical escapade. The local economy benefited and stories will be forever told. Just like Bostonians drinking tea in 1776, there was never a hiccup in the 1,528-megawatt power plant’s delivery of power.
“Our effort was to shut down this plant, and that hasn’t been achieved,” said Jay O’Hara.
“We lost an opportunity to educate the public, but we gained an extraordinary statement,” said Ken Ward.
“This is the response we need to be getting from elected and appointed officials if we’re going to change our trajectory on the climate.”
The 30 foot former lobster boat displayed banners that said “Coal is Stupid” and “350” [ppm carbon pollution is too much]. Trouble was the lobster boat was linked to a 200 lb anchor without a winch just off the pier at the Somerset MA power plant. On the other side of the boat, Somerset-bound, was the enormous Energy Enterprise, a 700 foot long freighter hauling about 40,000 tons of coal slated for Somerset power plant. No lobsters were caught, nor coal “beamed’ ashore, that day in May 2013.
The Coast Guard worked long with local police. A commercial salvage boat was employed to move the 200 lb anchor with lobster boat attached out of coal’s way. Cargo delivered.
For Ken Ward from Oregon and Jay O’Hara, local boat owner, their actions were necessary because of the threats posed by climate change. They do not dispute the charges brought against them of disturbing the peace, conspiracy, failure to act to avoid a collision, and negligent motor vessel operation. Their intent is to prove global warming is real and that bold action is needed to rescue our planet from a greater collision of forces than that of the ship Energy Enterprise and one power plant turning coal to clinker.
Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward’s historic lobster-boat-at-anchor trial will be held on September 8th & 9th in Fall River. Jay and Ken write:
“This may be a bit different from most invitations, but we hope you’ll bear with us for a moment. The two of us are about to go on trial and have the chance to argue for the necessity of aggressive, science-based climate action in a court of law. This is a rare opportunity for our movement to be heard loud and clear, to break through the clutter and show just how grave the danger is. We hope you’ll consider joining us in Fall River for the trial September 8th and 9th to drive that message home.”
If you’d like to stand in solidarity with intrepid seafaring coal blockaders, you must r.s.v.p. and read Alison’s post (and leave the rum bunged-up in home port).
Make way Hancock and your Boston Tea Party for the Somerset Lobsterboat Party.
Too taxing, we won’t let our communities suffer pollutants while you profit burning coal! The costs are unbearable to our families, natural communities and ways of life, the planet’s atmosphere and increasingly the climate.