FARMINGTON — Earth First! activists vowed Tuesday to continue its opposition to locating wind turbines in Maine, according to a press release.
The statement follows the conviction of two of its associated members this week for failure to disperse during a demonstration in Franklin County last summer.
“We feel strongly that industrial wind is a false solution to climate change, and remain committed to defending Maine’s mountain forests as a carbon-sink and as habitat for rare and endangered species” said Jessie Dowling of Maine Earth First!
A Franklin County Superior Court justice sentenced Erik Gillard, 27, of Plainfield, Vt., and Willow Cordes-Eklund, 27, of Minneapolis, Minn., to each serve 10 days in jail and each pay a $500 fine.
The sentence was a significant departure from typical sentencing in civil disobedience cases, the press release said. Individuals convicted of civil disobedience are most often sentenced to community service, it stated.
The two were involved in a protest against an industrial wind development project in Kibby Township and Chain of Ponds Township on July 6, 2010.
TransCanada has installed 44 turbines on Kibby mountain and range, and has received a permit to install 11 turbines on adjacent Sisk Mountain.
The latter permit issued by Maine Land Use Regulation Committee is under appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to overturn it due to the process followed, the release states. After sentencing Tuesday, Cordes-Eklund said that while the sentence was unexpectedly severe, she is prepared to serve it, the release states.
“Though I find the sentence to be harsh, I came to court knowing the possible consequences,” she said. “Going to trial was my attempt to continue the fight against industrial wind power.”
Other activists present to watch the conclusion of the trial questioned the wisdom of spending taxpayer money to jail nonviolent activists.
Jim Freeman of Verona Island said, “Is it really worth spending money jailing these people who pose no danger to society? There are better uses for public funds in these tight budget times,” according to the release.