Protesters Deny Charges
NEWPORT, VT - The two young men arrested on Lowell Mountain for contempt of court both pleaded innocent to the misdemeanor charge in Orleans Superior Court Criminal Division Tuesday morning. They were released on conditions. David Martorana, 19, and Trevor Ring, 20, both Sterling College students, were arrested on Lowell Mountain around 10 AM on Nov. 9.The mountain "occupiers" oppose the construction of the industrial scale Lowell wind turbine project and are camping on the mountain near the construction site. Judge Martin Maley ordered that everyone must be out of the 1,000-foot blast safety zone two hours prior to a blast. The safety zone includes property owned by Donald and Shirley Nelson.According to the affidavit, the campers were read the court order and handed copies of the order. Everyone moved out of the safety zone until the blast occurred, and then Martorana and Ring re-entered the zone.Both men told police that they felt the blast and then they assumed the area was clear to enter, MacFarlane wrote. Deputy Claude Marcoux, who made the arrest, stated that another blast was scheduled to occur in about five minutes and they were inside the safety zone within the two-hour time frame.Martorana and Ring were taken into custody and transported to the State Police Barracks in Derby where they were processed and cited to appear in court.They are represented by Attorney Kristina Michelson.In Maley’s order, he stated that the Orleans County Sheriff, with assistance from other law enforcement agencies, is authorized to arrest and remove any individuals within the safety zone during the specified two-hour period. He also gave police permission to enter the Nelsons' land to “effectuate the implementation and enforcement of all aspects of this order.”Up until the order was issued, the protesters stayed inside the 1,000-foot safety zone, which caused Green Mountain Power (GMP) to alter its blasting schedule and use smaller blasts. GMP, the utility company building the project, said that the smaller blasts slowed the project down. The company risks losing millions in federal tax credits if the project is not completed by Dec. 31, 2012.Protesters said Martorana and Ring did not intend to get arrested.“As a group, the mountain occupiers do not believe these individuals were in violation of the court order and we are surprised that law enforcement chose to arrest them. There was no intention on the part of this group or the individuals involved to violate the restraining order,” Dr. Ron Holland of Irasburg said in a statement.