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
The first U.S. "murder hornet" nest has been discovered and eliminated.
- 'Murder Hornets' Spotted in U.S. for the First Time - EcoWatch ›
- What Are Asian Giant Hornets, and Are They Really Dangerous ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jennifer Ann Thomas
For the first time, researchers have developed a model capable of anticipating drought periods in the Amazon up to 18 months in advance. The study was conducted by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), in Germany, as part of the Tipping Points in the Earth System (TiPES) project, led by physicist Catrin Ciemer and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Average monthly sea surface temperature (in degrees Celsius, red scale) and average continental rainfall in South America (in millimeters/month, blue scale) from 1981 to 2016. Sea surface temperatures and precipitation are generally higher around the equator. On the left, the area where El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurs; dotted lines indicate the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in January and July, responsible for transporting heat and humidity from the oceans around the tropics.
- Amazon Rainforest Could be Two Years from Irreversible ›
- Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon Increases for 13th Consecutive ... ›
- Climate Change Could Bring Drought to Amazon, Greater Rain to ... ›
Are you noticing your shirts becoming too tight fitting to wear? Have you been regularly visiting a gym, yet it seems like your effort is not enough? It's okay to get disappointed, but not to lose hope.
By Sean Fleming
Londoners worrying about air quality can now breathe a little easier, thanks to news from the city's mayor.
- 'Car-Free Zones' Launching in London - EcoWatch ›
- Protesting Against Air Pollution Crisis, Extinction Rebellion Stalls ... ›
- Corporations Don't Have to Pay Pollution Fines During COVID-19 ... ›
- Does Air Pollution Increase Depression and Suicide? - EcoWatch ›
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that Japan will become country carbon neutral by 2050, Bloomberg reported.
- Student Climate Protesters Urge Universities to Go Carbon Neutral ... ›
- This Country Is Already Carbon Neutral and Now Plans to Go 100 ... ›
- Climate Action Must Go Deeper Than 'Carbon Neutral' - EcoWatch ›