When Jay O’Hara and his co-captain Ken Ward moored their lobster boat in the unloading dock of Brayton Point Power Station in New England, blockading a 40,000 ton coal shipment in the process, they were fully prepared to face the legal consequences of their actions (not to mention the usual tired old complaints about eco-hypocrisy).
What they may have been less prepared for, however, is a District Attorney who not only drops their charges, but actively supports their cause and commits to joining the upcoming climate march. And yet that, according to the Boston Globe, is exactly what happened yesterday.
The Globe reports that Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter appeared before Fall River District Court yesterday, brandishing an article by Bill McKibben from Rolling Stone magazine, and announced that he would drop charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, disorderly conduct, and motor boat violations. In return, O'Hara and Ward will pay $2,000 each in restitution to Somerset and the State Police.
Sutter made it very plain that his leniency was based on the very real, very pressing challenge that climate change presents. While the cost to tax payers was taken into consideration, he said, so too was the impact that doing nothing about climate change would have on future generations.
Sutter also vowed to join the upcoming climate march in New York.
This is a big deal. With atmospheric CO2 levels reaching record highs right now, the sense of urgency being communicated by many scientists is matched only by the sense of complacency being communicated by so many politicians.
At least there's one public official who understands the urgency of the situation. As McKibben told the Globe in a telephone interview, it's easy to get cynical about politicians, "and then one of them shows a real maturity and grace."
Right on. Somebody buy that man a beer.