LOWELL – Law enforcement officers talked to protesters on Lowell Mountain Monday, reportedly to find out how many people were willing to resist a restraining order and be arrested in protest of the Lowell wind project.
The encounter is detailed on the Lowell Mountain News blog, a daily posting of the events at the encampment of protesters on Nelson farm property off the edge of the Lowell wind project.
The protesters have stood within a 1,000-foot safety zone to hinder blasting by Green Mountain Power contractors. The intent is to slow the construction of turbine sites and the crane path on the ridgeline.
GMP has said that the protests won’t stop the construction of 21 industrial grade turbines.
A spokeswoman for the protesters as well as the chief deputy with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the meeting between police and protesters Monday.
Chief Deputy Philip Brooks said he could only say that he was there and that any statement about what was involved would have to come from the Vermont State Police.
He confirmed that Capt. Tim Clouatre, commander of VSP Troop B serving the Northeast Kingdom, was the lead officer involved. VSP officials could not be reached for comment late Monday afternoon.
Orleans County Sheriff Kirk J. Martin, when contacted earlier Monday, said he had been involved in meetings about the Lowell protest but he could not comment on it.
Stacy Burke, a protester, said Monday that Dr. Ron Holland of Irasburg wrote the blog that she then posted on the Lowell Mountain News website.
Holland could not be reached for comment.
Orleans Superior Court Judge Martin Maley had issued a temporary restraining order, ordering the protesters to move out of the safety zone during blasting. It expired Sunday. And it has yet to be replaced. Law enforcement officers said the original order did not allow them to make any arrests.
She said that she understood that law enforcement spoke to the protesters at the camp.
Here is Holland’s blog:
“Three folks were on the mountain at 9:30. Two of us were starting a fire, the other was doing morning prayers for the mountain,” Holland wrote.
“Six people approached the campsite – Captain Tim Clouatre who is Troop “B” Commander … , Sheriff Kirk Martin, Deputy Sheriff Phil Brooks, another deputy sheriff that stayed in the background, and two construction workers.
“Of course, with the police presence, I thought ‘finally we can make a statement.’ Their interest was to understand us and our perspective.
“They wanted to know how many would leave and how many would not if read a restraining order. I told them that some would leave, and some would stay. Probably 2 or 3 would be arrested at a time,” Holland wrote.
“Captain Clouatre asked if we would be doing this daily? I said yes.
“Would we resist arrest? No,” Holland wrote.
“Do we have guns? No,” Holland said.
“They said they had pictures of peoples with guns.
“I said, that I am not aware of people with guns, we are a non-violent group.
“Would the same people be arrested more than once? I said, that we would cross that bridge when we come to it,” Holland wrote.
“We exchanged phone numbers.
“I asked when the new restraining order would be coming. They did not know.
“I did not have any conversation with the construction workers, but my partner at the time did – she found the workers to be slightly aggressive but handled the situation with class.
“I told them that we would notify them of any change in plans, for example, if we had a hundred people to arrest.
The meeting was cordial,” Holland concluded.
The website also has the mission statement of the protesters, who are calling themselves the Lowell Mountain Occupiers.
“The mission of the Lowell Mountain Occupiers is to help the people of Vermont develop a humane and sustainable energy policy that effectively addresses global warning through reduction of co2 emissions that is informed by science and objective analysis.
“We cherish the historic Vermont values of integrity, respect for the individual, private property, the importance of our environmental heritage, an educated citizenry and personal courage in the face of injustice.
“We will use the proposed Lowell Wind Project as our initial focus. This mission places us in direct conflict with corporations and their efforts to maximize profits and to unduly influence government policy.”
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