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Lobster Boat Blockade Of Coal Plant Leads District Lawyer To Climate Leadership

Once i met my husband Geof Day, his work as a climate activist launched me to some interesting individuals involved with Lately, I heard the inspiring story of Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, two local weather activists who, up till September 8th, thought they can be doing prison time for his or her bold action of blockading the largest coal-fired power plant on the East Coast with an previous lobster boat. Final week, Sam Sutter, a local District Attorney, agreed that because the actions of Ward and O’Hara at Brayton Point were reasonably reflective of a broader hazard (that of climate change), all expenses, past paying some minor damages, ought to be dropped. Later, in a stunning move, that very same DA–while waving a replica of Rolling Stone that includes an article by founder Bill McKibben–acknowledged that local weather change is “one of the best crises our planet has ever confronted,” that political management on this matter has been “sorely missing,” and that he could be joining them at the upcoming Individuals’s Climate March.

2016 Mens Stone Island Polos T Shirt Rose RedThis is an fascinating and essential story, especially on the eve of world leaders’ convergence at what’s being billed as “the largest climate march in historical past” – the People’s Local weather March – in New York Metropolis on Sept 21, 2014.

Here is an interview with Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, with thanks to Geof for connecting me to them in order that they might tell their own story.

When the Bristol County District Lawyer appeared in court the day your trial was scheduled to start and dramatically dropped criminal fees against you, were you surprised

KEN WARD: We weren’t shocked that the fees had been decreased, as the prosecutor had tried the week before to have the case knocked out by the court docket, and we knew from private conversations that morning that the DA agreed with us on climate and would make an announcement, which was pretty exciting, but we had been frankly blown away when DA Sutter issued his indictment of the failure of present political management and stated, in impact, that civil disobedience is an acceptable response under these circumstances.

JAY O’HARA: I used to be looking at Tim DeChristopher, who spent almost two years in federal prison for disrupting a federal drilling lease auction and who’s been serving to us in our trial, and Tim’s jaw simply dropped as DA Sutter read his assertion. Yes, we have been all surprised and thrilled.

Why had been you thrilled
JAY O’HARA: It’s important to image what was happening. We had a hundred people who had come to Fall River expecting to spend two or three days watching and supporting us and I feel everyone had fairly combined feelings after we trooped out of the courthouse–glad that Ken and that i weren’t going to get prison time, but disappointed, I feel, that we weren’t going to be ready to use the trial to draw consideration to the climate crisis.

KEN WARD: We had Bill McKibben and Jim Hansen and different consultants able to testify and a team of topnotch lawyers led by Matt Pawa and Joan Fund – working at no charge – set to current a primary-ever climate necessity defense. Then, just an hour after court convened, the criminal costs have been dropped, which meant that we would not be in a position to offer the necessity defense. DA Sutter’s statement was thrilling as a result of having the prosecution agree with the reasoning behind our action achieved a lot of what we sought by going to trial, simply in an unexpected approach.

Jay, you could have spoken before about being open to the “unexpected” and I know that this is a part of your Quaker religious tradition, are you able to communicate extra about that

JAY O’HARA: Sure, the lobster boat blockade I did with Ken was part of what I consider my Pals ministry – an expression of faith in action. By taking step one of putting stone island overshirt sale oneself able to observe damage as it is being performed – and that i consider burning coal, given all the things we all know, to be among the most terrible actions possible – we do what is named “bearing witness” in the Buddies tradition. And this is important even if there isn’t a motive to believe that anything optimistic will come out of it, and even that anybody will know you had been there. Ken and that i had been prepared to do what we did even when there had been no information about it. After we try this, miraculous, unexpected things happen, akin to we noticed on the trial.

KEN WARD: I am a UCC Congregationalist, and are available at this perhaps a bit more hardheaded in terms of cause and effect, however over two years of difficulties and boundaries we’ve seen many, many doors open where we didn’t expect them. The lobster boat action achieved what we needed, however not all the time by the means we anticipated. Jay talks about a “approach opening” which I generally joke about (hey, my cellphone’s about to die and we have received that call with the brand new York Times reporter; don’t worry, a means can be opened), but that has, in actual fact been our experience all along.

Inform me about some of these obstacles.
KEN WARD: Well, I remember getting a name from Jay a couple days earlier than the motion was deliberate. The boatyard where our lobster boat, the Henry David T.was stored over the winter had simply put the boat in the water and Jay thought it was sinking.

JAY O’HARA: There have been three inches of water capturing up into the air all alongside a number of seams.
What did you do

KEN WARD: I told him, “don’t be concerned, a way will open (chortle).” Nah, I hadn’t heard that phrase yet.
JAY O’HARA: We bought a pump and saved the water below the level of the engine till the wood swelled up.

What other kinds of difficulties did you face
KEN WARD: Most likely probably the most tough impediment was opposition from Massachusetts environmental teams. Once we began to discover the concept, this was within the fall of 2012, we had a round of conferences with organizations within the “Coal Free Massachusetts” coalition–leaders in the hassle to shut Brayton Point and other Mass coal plants. We hadn’t expected that they’d essentially embrace us, however we also didn’t count on the form of, ah, vigorous opposition we bought.

JAY O’HARA: At one level we had been told that if we went ahead, “one way or the other” phrase would get to Brayton Point security and the Somerset Police.

Wow, that is hard to consider. Why had been they so opposed
KEN WARD: I was considerably sympathetic, having been in an identical position prior to now. Stone When I was Director of latest Jersey Public Interest Research Group, which had a big toxics program, a Greenpeace crew went out and welded a piece of steel over the largest pollution discharge pipe going in the ocean (led by Jon Hinck, who’s now an environmental lawyer in Maine). I used to be annoyed, it is was a turf factor, however then we saw that everything changed. Almost overnight there was a whole new willingness to do one thing about toxics and groups like ours had way more room to maneuver and get things carried out.

JAY O’HARA: Earlier than our motion, no one was severely discussing rapid shutdown of Brayton Level. Our action led to two major demonstrations at the plant site and a particular shift in attitude toward the plant. All of the teams who opposed our action have, more or less, come around, and some are even enthusiastic.

KEN WARD: Of course, inexperienced groups are nonetheless a really lengthy away from where we need them to be.
In terms of local weather work

KEN WARD: Exactly. We just noticed maybe the weakest display this summer season. In Might, we had the Rignot examine saying that the West Antarctic ice shelf is now in “unstoppable” collapse, which means 10′ of sea level rise, and only a month later President Obama issued his coal plant emissions rules which are completely horrible – professional-pure gasoline and fracking, professional-nuclear power, and, I’d argue, pro-coal, as a result of they purpose to maintain 30% of electricity era from coal burning – and each single one in all the foremost US environmental groups endorsed this miserable proposal, most of them without even a peep of complaint.

JAY O’HARA: One among our targets is to show a completely honest strategy that doesn’t flinch at placing local weather science fact first. We won’t shade actuality with the intention to pander to reasonable public opinion. We consider the sincere approach will work to remodel politics, and we predict we have confirmed that right here.

The place do you go from here
JAY O’HARA: Properly my companion Meg and i are crusing down Island Sound in the meanwhile, sharing our expertise at boards and Buddies Conferences along the way, heading for brand new York the place we might be taking part in a flotilla as part of the Sept. 21 Individuals’s Climate March just before the UN local weather conferences.

KEN WARD: I’m working with Tim DeCristopher, our lawyers and other members of our assist committee to finalize plans for a Local weather Disobedience Heart, which we plan to open simply after the September march. We wish to offer assist, coaching and different sources to of us thinking about or planning civil disobedience on climate along the strains of our lobster boat blockade.

Because of this small motion, history has been made. A small precedent has been set. Civil disobedience against coal-fired energy in this case was judged both symbolically and in reality for the greater good of the setting, and to the benefit of the general public.

Maybe a brand new means of understanding local weather change has indeed opened, as manifested by the journey of the Henry David T. and the no-longer-sorely-lacking leadership of one principled and courageous public official.

Lori Day is a advisor and writer with Lori Day Consulting in Newburyport, MA, protecting politics, current events, culture, media and girls’s rights within the Huffington Post. You can join with Lori on Fb, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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