Boston Judge Acquits 13 Pipeline Protesters in Groundbreaking Decision
Judge Mary Ann Driscoll of West Roxbury District Court decided it was necessary for the protestors to engage in civil disobedience to block the construction of Spectra Energy's high-pressure fracked gas pipeline and acquitted the activists of civil infractions, according to media reports.
The judge made the decision after hearing each defendant's testimony. They argued the threat of climate change necessitated their civil disobedience.
"Part of why Judge Mary Ann Driscoll found no liability was because they engaged in a sustained effort to end the project and attempted legal remedies by the city council, mayor, and other agencies to stop the pipeline.
Even though the pipeline was still constructed and operational by January 2017, that was irrelevant. The judge found the activists were not liable."
"What happened today was really important," she said. "Essentially, the people that put themselves in the way of building this fossil fuel pipeline were found 'not responsible' by reason of necessity."
"The irony of that is that we are making ourselves responsible. We are part of the the movement that is standing up and saying we won't let this go by on our watch. We won't act like nothing's wrong."
According to The Independent:
"Neither Ms Driscoll or the court clerk was available for comment. However, one member of the court's staff who asked not to be named, told The Independent the judge had found them not responsible. The person denied, however, that the judge had made the ruling on the grounds of legal necessity."
The trial took place this week after the state prosecutor reduced the original charges of trespassing and disturbing the peace to civil infractions—the equivalent of a parking ticket.
The Civil Disobedience Center, which supported the protestors, said that the prosecution's reduced charges meant the activists were denied a chance to present a "necessity defense" against the gas pipeline.
"By reducing the charges, the prosecutor has avoided what could have been a groundbreaking legal case. The action effectively denied the 13 defendants a jury trial," the Civil Disobedience Center explained in a press release.
While the activists said they were disappointed that they would not get the chance to present their case to a jury of their peers, they still felt their resistance had a positive impact, the release noted.
He tweeted, "Good golly! A few minutes ago a Boston judge acquitted 13 pipeline protesters on the grounds that the climate crisis made it necessary for them to commit civil disobedience. This may be a first in America."
Good golly! A few minutes ago a Boston judge acquitted 13 pipeline protesters on the grounds that the climate crisi… https://t.co/Gdfyw4UXQp— Bill McKibben (@Bill McKibben)1522178526.0
- Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial Into Agency Reports ... ›
- Climate Denier Is Named to Leadership Role at NOAA - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.
Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.
The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.
- Renewable Energy Could Power the World by 2050 - EcoWatch ›
- Net Zero U.S. by 2050? House Dems Unveil Sweeping Climate ... ›
- Delayed Senate Energy Bill Promotes LNG Exports, 'Clean Coal ... ›
By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.