AUGUSTA (AP) – Police arrested six people who gathered along with others at the Blaine House to call for a moratorium on liquefied natural gas terminals in Maine. Gov. John Baldacci was home at the time.

About 50 police officers, state troopers and deputies who responded found protesters blocking a driveway, lobster shells and oil littering the grounds, and one protester secured to a tripod erected in the parking lot.

A woman who was hanging from a contraption consisting of three pieces of wood forming a tripod was arrested for criminal mischief, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Five others – two women and three men – were arrested for trespassing on the Blaine House grounds, McCausland said. All six were released later in the day on $40 bail each. McCausland said there were about 50 demonstrators participating in the event, while protesters put the number at 100 or more.

Maine Earth First! said it decided to go to Baldacci’s backyard because they’re concerned that the “not in my backyard” stance taken by many communities could lead to an LNG terminal being built on the Passamaquoddy tribe’s Pleasant Point without a full airing of environmental concerns.

Analysts say LNG is needed to keep up with energy demands in New England, but the protesters wanted Baldacci to focus on renewable energy resources and keep an LNG terminal from being built in Maine.

A press release issued by Maine Earth First! said LNG could foul fishing grounds and that the process of extraction, liquefaction and transportation of the gas contributes to global warming.

The lobster shells and oil dumped on the grounds were meant to signal those concerns, said Tennessee Watson, one of the protesters.

Baldacci was at the executive mansion with his family during the early afternoon protest and was preparing to go to a movie with his son Jack, according to Lee Umphrey, the governor’s spokesman.

“The governor appreciates the people exercising their freedom of speech rights but at the same time is disappointed that they chose to damage public property,” Umphrey said.

AP-ES-07-05-04 1827EDT

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