***For Immediate Release***
Contact: Emily Posner, Native Forest Network, Organizer–207-930-5232
Plum Creek Using Intimidation to Silence Opposition
On Friday, November 2nd a small group of volunteers from Native Forest Network-Gulf of Maine (NFN) and Rising Tide North America (RTNA) were stopped, harassed and issued citations for criminal trespassing after taking video and still photographs for a documentary project at Plum Creek’s Greenville office. NFN is an all volunteer organization that advocates for the protection and restoration of forests and wild places including organizing against Plum Creek’s development proposal in the Moosehead Lake Region. The organization is registered with LURC as an intervenor and will be participating in official hearings during December and January. NFN supports a stance of “No Compromise” in regards to Plum Creek’s proposed development, claiming, “this type of project contributes to global climate change, threatens the ecological integrity of the largest undeveloped region east of the Mississippi River, and undermines the rural heritage of the region.”
At least three public law enforcement agencies, as well as Plum Creek’s private security firm, Merrill’s Investigation and Security, were involved in detaining the group. Three members of Native Forest Network, Gulf of Maine, and one member of Rising Tide North America, were detained and questioned. Three were issued citations for criminal trespassing.
Initially, the group was stopped in the parking lot of Plum Creek’s Greenville office at approximately 4 pm while videotaping the exterior of the building. An employee of Merrill’s Investigation and Security confronted the group, accused them of trespassing, and cornered them in the parking lot with his vehicle. According to Alex Lundberg, one of the volunteers detained, the guard did not identify himself, asked the group for identification and informed them they were trespassing and, ‘In big trouble.’ The group, under the impression that the office had public business hours, and unaware that they were doing anything wrong, then informed the guard that they would like to leave the property.
Leaving the property, the group proceeded as planned, climbing Moose Mountain to obtain more video footage of the region and proposed development area for the documentary project. Returning to their vehicle after their hike, the group was confronted by Officer Hartwood of the Greenville Police Department, as well as at least three Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Deputies, and two Game Wardens. “We were extremely surprised and intimidated by the show of force on the trail and in the parking lot. It was scary to have officers in full camouflage shouting at us and threatening us,” said Emily Posner, one of the group ultimately given a citation. “They also asked me if we were violent, and if I had explosives in my car,” said Posner.
Members of Native Forest Network also have been under surveillance at recent meetings of the state’s Land Use Regulatory Commission, the body responsible for approving Plum Creek’s Plan. Ryan Clarke, a member of the group who was present both at Friday’s confrontation, and the last LURC meeting says, “There was a man in an unmarked car videotaping us as we entered and left the meeting.”
“This type of preemptive action on the part of Plum Creek poses a potential threat to individuals’ constitutional rights. Intimidation and court summons discourages public participation in controversial issues. I hope that Plum Creek immediately stops using these types of tactics,” said Attorney Lynne Williams, who represents RESTORE and Forest Ecology Network, two other organizations contesting Plum Creek’s development plan .
Native Forest Network and Rising Tide North America plan to continue documenting Plum Creek’s development proposal in the Moosehead Region. Posner, Lundberg and John Waters of RTNA, the third person cited-plan to appear in court to contest the charges in January.
Podrï¿½n cortar todas las flores, pero no podrï¿½n detener la
They can cut all the flowers, but they cannot stop the coming of Spring.
Defending Water for Life
Meg Perry Healthy Soil Project
a program of the Common Ground Collective