FARMINGTON — Four people arrested in connection with an Earth First! protest of a TransCanada wind energy construction site in northern Franklin County in July 2010 are expected to go to a jury trial in Franklin County Superior Court on Monday.
Willow Cordes-Eklund of Minneapolis, Erik Gillard of Montpelier, Vt.; and Ana Rodriguez of Lake Worth, Fla., were charged with failure to disperse, a Class D misdemeanor.
A fourth defendant, Courtney Butcher of Pine River, Minn., was charged with trespassing, a Class E misdemeanor.
The charges stem from an incident on Gold Brook Road in Kibby Township on July 6, 2010.
Cordes-Eklund used a bicycle lock to fasten herself to the undercarriage of a truck bound for the construction site in the Boundary Mountains.
Cordes-Eklund was fastened to the truck for about a half-hour before Maine State Police cut the lock and charged her with failure to disperse, according to Logan Perkins of Eddington, Maine. Perkins was the protest organizer for Earth First!
As Cordes-Eklund was locking herself to the truck, Gillard and Rodriguez talked to the driver, told him what Cordes-Eklund was doing and asked him not to move the vehicle, Perkins said.
Maine State Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Border Patrol were all at the Kibby site before dawn as dozens of protesters blocked the road to the construction site.
After the arrests, state police Lt. Don Pomelow said protesters arrived at the Kibby site around 5 a.m., many walking up the private access road to the site. He called the protesters “fairly peaceful” in the early hours, as did TransCanada spokeswoman LeAnne LeBlanc, who said work continued without interruption.
The protest was organized the day before the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission met in Bangor to deliberate TransCanada’s $100 million proposal to site 15 more wind turbines.
Pomelow estimated the number of protesters to be about 30, but Perkins said about 50 gathered at Gold Brook Road.
At the time, Earth First! spokespeople said the group’s blockade was a demonstration of members’ “beliefs of no compromise of Mother Earth,” raising awareness of their concern that the TransCanada project is not about green energy but is about shareholder profits and tax subsidies.
"It was a really important moment for Earth First! to take a strong stand against industrial wind power," Perkins said at the time. "Most environmental groups in this country are sort of blindly following the solution trail that corporate energy has laid out for us."
She said Earth First! has a no-compromise stance and believes wind power is a “false solution to climate change.”