Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Judge rules pipeline protesters' actions necessary to prevent climate change; could be precedent for other cases

Karenna Gore protests the West Roxbury pipeline.
(Associated Press photo by Kori Feener)
A Boston judge dismissed charges against 13 gas-pipeline protesters on grounds that they believed climate change made their protest a necessary act of civil disobedience. The ruling could create legal precedent for others protesting controversial pipelines. The pipeline in this case is the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, an Enbridge Inc. project.

"The protesters, including Karenna Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, were facing charges of trespassing and disturbing the peace after climbing into a construction trench," Jordan Graham reports for the Boston Herald. "On Tuesday, prosecutors asked a judge to convert the criminal charges into civil infractions, saying in the event of a conviction they were unlikely to ask for any further punishment. After allowing the motion, Judge Mary Ann Driscoll found the defendants not responsible, saying she agreed with their argument that their actions were necessary to combat climate change."

This isn't the first time environmental protesters have used the "necessity defense" strategy, in which defendants admit that they did something illegal, but had no legal alternative in order to prevent imminent danger. But the Climate Disobedience Center, which helped represent the West Roxbury protesters, said it may be the first time that defense has proven successful for environmental protesters, Alex Lubben reports for Vice News

No comments: