Occupy Entergy! women arrested at nuclear power corporate office

Mic check reading of citizens' arrest warrant inside Entergy's office, from left, Frances Crowe, Susan B. Lantz, and Paki Wieland of Northampton, MA; Hattie Nestel of Athol, MA; Nina Swaim of Sharon, VT. Photo courtesy Marcia Gagliardi.

Eleven women of the Shut It Down Affinity Group occupied the offices of Entergy Corporation on Old Ferry Road, Brattleboro, Vermont, on Monday morning, December 12, and attempted to make a citizens’ arrest of the board and officers of Entergy, operator of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

All the women were arrested for unlawful trespass and directed to appear for arraignment on various January dates in Brattleboro Superior Court, Criminal Division.

Shut-It-Downers cited Entergy for “heedless disregard of public health, public safety, and the right of the citizenry to hear the truth.”

When Entergy public relations officer Larry Smith appeared briefly as the women left the building with arresting officers, several chided him for lying to the public about the dangers of the nuclear power plant.

“We deplore the profiteering of Entergy officers and directors,” said the women. “We find them guilty against all people within a wide radius of Vermont Yankee.”

Paki Wieland of Northampton, MA, led the group of occupiers in a “mic check” reading of the citizens’ arrest warrant, which included a number of particulars including accusing Entergy of whitewasing health consequences, dangers, and financial costs while disregarding the wishes of the people of Vermont that the power plant be shut down now. The “mic check” was a nod to the methods of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Hattie Nestel of Athol, MA, and Nina Swaim of Sharon spray-painted an admonition in the Entergy driveway before the offices were occupied: “Arrest Entergy/No More Radiation.”

Shut-It-Downers entered the building through the unlocked main entrance as workers repaired a stairway in a central hallway. Offices in a suite to the left of the hallway were vacant, and the women occupied a conference room on the first floor where they issued the citizens’ arrest after spreading rows of caution and crime scene tape on the conference table.

Members of the Windham County sheriff’s department, whose car was already on site when the women entered the building, and the Brattleboro Police Department repeatedly asked the women to leave, but the women refused. The temper of the conversation escalated before enforcement officers informed the women they were under arrest. Police and sheriff’s personnel then escorted women from the building and issued arrest citations on an unseasonably warm December morning.

Arrested were Wieland, Nestel, Swaim, and Frances Crowe and Susan B. Lantz of Northampton, MA; Anneke Corbett of Florence, MA; Jean Grossholtz of South Hadley, MA; Ellen Graves of West Springfield, MA; Marcia Gagliardi of Athol, MA; Cate Woolner of Northfield, MA; and Sandra Boston of Greenfield, MA.

Text of the citizens’ arrest warrant:

We of the Shut It Down affinity group are here to make a citizens’ arrest of the directors and officers of the Entergy Corporation for their heedless disregard of public health, public safety, and the right of the citizenry to hear the truth as the directors and officers of Entergy supervise the operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont, with headquarters in Brattleboro, Vermont.

We deplore the profiteering of Entergy officers and directors. We find them guilty of crimes against all people within a wide radius of Vermont Yankee.

Entergy is guilty of lying about radioactive leaks and emissions that poison people, air, water, and land.

Entergy is guilty of paying its executive officers exorbitant salaries for fostering a dangerous environment full of leaks and lies.

Entergy is guilty of ignoring the wishes of the people of Vermont and those of its legislature in pushing ahead with plans to renew its license for twenty years.

Entergy is guilty of whitewashing the very serious health consequences from the radioactive emissions at Vermont Yankee.

Entergy cannot make Vermont Yankee safe.  Nuclear power is a death threat to every living thing.

Entergy is guilty of instigating a lawsuit to overcome the March 21 legal closing and keep operating.

Entergy is guilty of refusing to fund decommissioning expenses.

Entergy is guilty of flagrantly disregarding and violating its earlier agreement  with the State of Vermont that it would accept the decision of   the Senate and or House if one or both houses voted not to renew the Certificate of Public Good, which the Senate did on February 24, 2010, yet Entergy  filed a federal lawsuit against Vermont anyway. Entergy is guilty of disregarding an agreement made in good faith.

Entergy is guilty of spending over $50 million a year in newspaper, radio and TV ads, misleading the public about its safely and reliability, while at the same time, neglecting its legal responsibility to contribute yearly to the facility’s decommissioning fund.

Entergy is guilty of skimping on safety precautions that create an unsafe, untrustworthy environment for millions of people in New England.

Entergy is guilty of perpetuating toxic, lethal wastes that will burden all future generations with undeserved risk to their environment, their health, and their very lives.