Imagine a 32′ lobster boat anchoring itself directly in the path of a huge steam ship with 40,000 pounds of Appalachian coal.
That is the story of environmental activists Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, who used their little white lobster boat, The Henry David T, to stop the massive Energy Enterprise from delivering its shipment of coal to the Brayton Point power plant in Somerset in 2013. Brayton Point is the largest coal plant in New England.
This March, Jay O’Hara will be traveling to Southern Maine for three events where he will share the story of the Lobster Boat Blockade.
After the blockade, the two men were charged with conspiracy, disturbing the peace and motor vessel violations, and faced up to several years in jail. The criminal charges were later dropped.
The Bristol County District Attorney, Sam Sutter, dropped the conspiracy charges and reduced the other charges to civil infractions saying that he saw the need to take leadership on climate change.
Ken and Jay had sought to become the first American climate activists to use a “necessity defense”, arguing that the blockade was necessary in light of the imminent threat of climate change. They had planned to call former NASA climatologist James Hansen and environmentalist Bill McKibben to the stand as expert witnesses.
By dropping the charges, DA Sutter in effect accepted Ken and Jay’s necessity defense.
350 Maine and other partners will host Jay O’Hara for three events.
Friday 3/13: “Empowering the Climate Movement: Lessons from the Lobster Boat Blockade” at the Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, starting at 7 pm (sponsored by Durham Friends Meeting Peace & Social Concerns Committee and the Freeport Climate Action Team).
Saturday 3/14: “Empowering the Climate Movement: Lessons from the Lobster Boat Blockade”; Talbot Hall, University of Southern Maine, Portland. 7 p.m. (organized by 350 Greater Portland and 350 Tar Sands Team joint planning group)
Sunday 3/15: Jay will be joining Portland Friends Meeting for Worship and speaking thereafter (organized by Rob Levin, of Portland Friends Peace & Social Concerns Committee)