On March 13, Plymouth County Court Judge Kathryn Hand accepted the Commonwealth’s Motion to dismiss the trespass charges against the eleven defendants who sought to deliver a letter to Entergy Corporation of Louisiana on May 20, 2012. The letter requested that Entergy withdraw their relicensing application to operate the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Facility for an additional 20 years.
The defendants opposed the dismissal and were prepared to mount a vigorous necessity defense starting on March 18. They wanted to justify why they felt it necessary to trespass and had several renowned expert witnesses ready to testify. Defendant David Agnew said, “The Commonwealth should be more concerned with Entergy’s radiation leaks trespassing upon its people than the symbolic acts of well-meaning citizens.” The trial would have shed light on the dangers posed by the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and the devastating consequences of a nuclear accident. Diane Turco of Harwich stated, “This reactor is still very dangerous and the three identical reactors that exploded in Fukushima, Japan have displaced over 150,000 people and caused over 30,000 thyroid abnormalities in children. The risks are far too great.”
The courtroom was filled with Pilgrim 14 supporters and immediately following the court’s ruling about 50 people went directly to the main gate of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to protest. The lack of any security allowed the 50 or so protesters to march onto Entergy property and to get very near the reactor building before anyone noticed. Five people were arrested for criminal trespass: Paul Rifkin of Barnstable, Susan Carpenter of Dennis, Michael Risch of Falmouth, Elaine Dickinson of Harwich and Ben Almada of Manomet. The charges against Rifkin, Risch and Carpenter had just been dismissed. Paul Rifkin stated, “They can dismiss the case, but they can not dismiss the issue.”
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