Before dawn on November 3, 2014, Kelly locked herself to a piece of heavy machinery on the site to protest the construction. The other three were there to raise the alarm as well. Even though Calvert County District Court Judge Robert Riddle allowed barely a word in court about their motivation -- to stop a dangerous project that was a threat to their community, the region and the entire planet, since it would greatly increase fracking in the Marcellus shale of the mid-Atlantic and send methane emissions soaring, exacerbating climate chaos -- that sentiment did break through a few times. After the judge pronounced them all guilty, Kelly opted to go to jail and start serving her sentence immediately.
Kelly has a 12-year-0ld son, Milo, whom she proudly described to supporters as a climate activist in his own right, who fully supports his mom. She is disabled with a neurological condition that requires several medications to treat. I was so moved by her commitment that I couldn't help but feel that others present in court -- like the judge, the prosecutor and the various court personnel -- would be, too. Maybe they think she's just foolish or a neglectful mom (she had carefully prepared for this eventuality by recruiting several family members to care for her son), but I think it's these kinds of actions that will eventually create the kind of change we need. Click here for a great write-up of their day in court, and a hopeful surprise when Kelly turned herself in at the local jail.
Twenty more concerned citizens go to trial before a different judge on Monday (Feb. 23) for other non-violent direct actions last November and December protesting Dominion's LNG project. They hope to mount a necessity defense -- that they took action to disrupt Dominion's construction in order to prevent a greater harm -- which will almost certainly be denied. Many of them are prepared to go to jail if convicted.
And click here for a video of our action on Feb. 19 in D.C. at the monthly meeting of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which rubber stamps almost every natural gas project that comes before it (including Cove Point). The meeting that day featured a deputy administrator from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) giving the overview of its Clean Power Plan, which relies heavily on promoting fracked gas.
Please support our Indiegogo campaign to raise money to pay our organizer, and to pay for materials, room rentals for trainings, food for canvassers and other expenses. We've just about reached our initial $20,000 goal, but we really still need a few thousand more to cover the expenses of Indigogo and our fiscal sponsor. Here's the link, and thank you!
Update: Kelly was given the same sentence as her three co-defendants since jail personnel said they could not keep her due to the meds she takes. So it's three years of unsupervised probation and a $500 fine.
Click here for a thorough report on what happened on Monday, Feb. 23, when the Cove Point 20 went to trial.
And click here for a story about a judge in New York dismissing all charges against almost 150 protesters from We Are Seneca Lake, a group opposing a different fracking project under Seneca Lake, the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes -- the heart of a wine-making and tourist area.