Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DA Drops Charges Against Coal Protesters: "They're Right!"/ Rail Industry Blocks Derailment Solutions

'They're Right': Citing Climate, Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Coal Blockaders

'Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced,' said Bristol County DA Sam Sutter. 'In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been gravely lacking.' 


by Jon Queally, staff writer    CommonDreams  9/09/14

A local district attorney in Massachusetts surprised parties on all sides on Monday after he sided with two climate justice activists who employed a "necessity defense" to justify their use of a small lobster boat to block the path of an enormous coal freighter trying to dock at the Brayton Point Power Station in the town of Somerset last year....
... For the brazen act of civil disobedience both O'Hara and Ward faced many thousands of dollars in fines and as much as two years in jail, but it was Bristol County DA Sam Sutter who decided that all charges in the case would be dropped after he determined that their expressed purpose—to put an end to the carbon-spewing pollution directly related to the current climate change crisis—was an adequate and defensible position.  Sutter dropped all charges against the two....  read more here

AHERN:Rail industry blocking technology to prevent derailments

Washington Times  - - September 8, 2014 

......Despite the railroad industry’s many advances, some problems have persisted for years, frustrating rail engineers. Bearing failure that often leads to derailments is one. Accidental decoupling is another. So are poor truck designs.

The good news is that innovative companies from outside the railroad industry have devised solutions. The bad news is that these solutions have been shunned by an industry hostile to those outside its closed culture. This stonewalling puts American lives and freight at risk. Congress needs to intervene.

Consider the strange case of Columbus Castings, of Columbus, Ohio - a railroad industry outsider, despite being the nation’s largest steel foundry. Columbus Castings created a product called the Z-Knuckle, which prevents accidental uncoupling.

The Z-Knuckle met the railroad industry’s newly created standard for such devices. But in an inexplicable twist, because the Z-Knuckle was the only device that met the standard, the industry refused to authorize its use. Instead, it simply chose not to enforce its own standard...... 
read more here

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