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First arrests on Lowell Mountain

LOWELL – Two people were arrested on Lowell Mountain Wednesday after they were found to be within the 1,000-foot safety zone during blasting at the Green Mountain Power wind project site.

Trevor Ring, 21, and David Martorana, 19, both Sterling College students, were taken into custody by officers working on the Lowell Mountain project, according to a press release from Deputy Jonathan Macfarlane with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

Both Ring and Martorana were reportedly found on Don and Shirley Nelson’s property around 10 AM within the two-hour time frame prior to a blast on Wednesday. The two men were taken into custody, cited to appear in Orleans County Superior Court, and then released.

Judge Martin Maley issued a preliminary injunction allowing for people to be arrested and charged with criminal contempt if they are within the blast safety zone two hours before a blast.

Mountain occupiers, who oppose the construction of twenty-one 450-foot wind turbines on the Lowell ridge line, have been occupying the mountain around the clock in order to keep records and document what is happening. The two arrested are members of the mountain occupiers group.

A spokesperson from Sterling College said that he heard the two men did not deliberately violate the order.
Wind project opponent Dr. Ron Holland of Irasburg said the same.

“This arrest clearly documents the intensity of the conflict over the development of Vermont’s ridge line for utility-scale wind projects,” said Holland.

“As a group, the mountain occupiers do not believe these individuals were in violation of the court order, and we are surprised that law enforcement chose to arrest them. There was no intention on the part of this group or the individuals involved to violate the restraining order,” Holland said.

In an interview Sunday, Martorana, who was on the ridge line during the open house held by project opponents, spoke passionately about nature and the mountains. He also said that he felt that mountain occupiers could be more effective as a group.

Up until Wednesday, all mountain occupiers had been moving out of the safety zone when asked to do so, Martorana said, and no one had been previously arrested.