Coal-plant protesters sentenced to community service, will appeal with jury trials

  • A climate activist removes coal from a burn pile at Merrimack Station in Bow on Saturday.

Monitor staff
Published: 1/28/2021 10:57:34 AM

Nineteen opponents of the coal-fired power plant in Bow will get jury trials to appeal their sentences of 30 days of community service for trespassing during a 2019 protest.

The sentences were handed down by Circuit Court Judge Edwin Kelly, who contrasted the group’s actions around the main gate of Merrimack Station with the riot at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6. 

“In the opinion of the Court, the cases before it represent a stark contrast to the recent experience in our nation's capital,” Kelly said. “The conduct of the defendants was entirely peaceful throughout the event.”

The protesters were arrested September 28, 2019, as part of a campaign by a group called No Coal No Gas targeting the Merrimack Generation Station in Bow, which will soon be the only coal-fired power plant in New England. Coal contributes more to the climate emergency than any other fuel source used to create electricity.

In a press release, the group said the ruling paved the way for automatic appeal to Superior Court and a jury trial and called the decision “a victory, albeit a procedural one.” The release said that at their trials the protesters will ask “a jury of their peers to consider that their actions were taken in order to prevent a greater harm.”

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of the monthly Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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