Description: Prosecution of protesters of the Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline project who locked themselves in section of pipeline.
People v. Berlin
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/08/2019 Verdict Defendants found guilty. Pipeline Protesters Found Guilty of Trespass, Necessity Defense Rejected. A Town Justice in Cortlandt, New York, found three protesters of the Algonquin Incremental Market natural gas pipeline guilty of non-criminal trespass. The Town Justice rejected the defendants' necessity defense. The three protesters—who spent 16 hours inside a section of pipeline in 2016—presented evidence on necessity related to climate change, risks from exploding gas pipelines in proximity to Indian Point nuclear power plant, and risks of adverse public health effects of shale gas for populations in and around gas pipelines. The Town Justice read her decision into the record, and news reports indicated she found that the defendants did not satisfy the elements for the necessity defense because they had not exhausted other available means of protest such as writing letters or intervening in the regulatory process. The Town Justice also rejected the prosecutor’s request that the defendants be required to perform 300 hours of community service not related to environmental causes. The defendants have filed a notice of appeal.