Charges will mostly likely be dismissed for two climate activists, who were arrested earlier this month in Burrillville. They chained themselves to the front gate of a Spectra Energy facility to protest plans for an expansion.
Charges for willful trespass will be dismissed within a year, if the activists keep a clean record. One of the men, University of Rhode Island physics professor, Peter Nightingale, said he will continue to testify against the project. He’s concerned about the greenhouse gas methane, which leaks during natural gas production.
“That concern is not going to go away by any charges or any verdict in a court in Rhode Island or anywhere else,” said Nightingale.
(The latest scientific findings by the International Panel on Climate Change reports methane is more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane breaks down more quickly than carbon dioxide, but during a period of 20 years in the atmosphere, it's 84 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.)
After his arrest, Nightingale said he will think twice about engaging in acts of civil disobedience. But as a physicist, Nightingale plans to speak out in other ways.
“This, as I see it, is physics outreach, because I help people understand the physics that’s going on," said Nightingale. "I’m not afraid of science papers—as you [may] understand—so physics outreach will keep on going.”
Nightingale said that outreach will take shape as testimonies at public hearings or other meetings to break down the science and risks of natural gas fracking.
Note: This post has been updated.
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