Breaking The Law Is Not An Effective Protest Strategy

On Saturday, August 25th protests were organized across Pennsylvania by the radical group Earth Works in support of jailed anti – pipeline leader, Ellen Gerhart. In Delaware County three pipeline protestors followed Mrs. Gerhart’s tactics and quickly found themselves in a similar situation – escorted in handcuffs off of a Mariner East 2 site facing charges of defiant trespassing.

Earth First coordinated with local opposition groups, namely the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, Uwchlan Safety Coalition, and Goshen United for Public Safety, to champion a cause lead by a woman with three arrests. Most recently, Ellen Gerhart was arrested for trying to lure bears to a construction site to harm pipeline workers.

Self-proclaimed ‘safety’ groups are not truthful to their names by making a leader of someone that has sought harm as a means to pipeline safety. Additionally, these same groups are willingly placing themselves in harm’s way by protesting in an area reserved for trained, professional pipeline workers.

If pipeline opposition groups like the ‘Mama Bear Brigade’ were willing to stop their singing and chanting to listen to factual evidence they may not find themselves in handcuffs as often as they do.

A Washington Post article highlights pipelines as a safe alternative as “the rate of accidents per billion barrels is significantly higher for rail.” Rail transported oil has 10 to 20 times more accidents per year than pipelines.

The consequences for ignoring facts and acting on ideology alone are becoming more severe for anti – pipeline groups. Not sure the message that these activists are trying to send by getting arrested themselves to highlight the conviction of a fellow protestor.