Roseland Trial: Guilty, No Jail Time

Karlos Edmonds and Ted Glick Convicted at Trial in Roseland, NJ

50 Supporters Fill the Courtroom, No Jail Time

July 11, 2019

Karlos Edmonds, organizer with the climate group Extinction Rebellion, and Ted Glick, president of 350NJ-Rockland and coordinator of Roseland Against the Compressor Station, were convicted in Roseland Municipal Court at 11 p.m. last night by Municipal Judge William T. Connell, Esquire after a two hour trial. They had been charged with a misdemeanor, “Failure to Obey a Police Officer,” and were facing a potential 90 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Glick was fined $375, and Edmonds was sentenced to 50 hours of community service.

Edmonds and Glick had been arrested at a nonviolent civil disobedience protest on May 22 at a construction site on Eagle Rock Avenue where a 33,000 horsepower gas compressor operation is being built right next to a 27,500 gas compressor station built in 2013 and expanded in 2016.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has allowed construction to take place since mid-March on the gas compressor expansion even though a Freshwater Wetlands permit issued the day after Christmas, 2018, was appealed by the Borough of Roseland, Roseland Against the Compressor Station, Food and Water Watch, New Jersey Sierra Club and 350NJ-Rockland. Usual practice for DEP is to prevent construction until administrative appeals, at least, which this is, are decided.

For four months the Williams/Transco pipeline company has been constructing the 33,000 horsepower expansion of the gas compressor operation on Eagle Rock Avenue in Roseland. According to Carolyn Elefant, a native of Livingston, NJ and a prominent lawyer for over 10 years for groups around the country opposing proposed fossil fuel infrastructure, if this 60,500 horsepower gas compressor operation is completed and goes into operation, it will be larger than 97% of the gas compressors in the country.

Edmonds, a 35-year old full-time, volunteer climate activist, commented after conviction: “The legal system in Roseland failed the people of Roseland and the disrupted and heating-up climate last evening. What we did was a necessity because of the extreme threat to human existence, and existence for all life forms on earth, due to the burning of fossil fuels and the environmental pollution of our corporate-dominated economic and political system. It is clear that the people must take action, must draw attention to the urgency of our crisis and get organized to stop the expansion of any new fossil fuel infrastructure right now.”

Glick, a 69-year old retired but full-time volunteer climate activist also, commented: “It is disappointing that Judge Connell refused to consider our argument that the severity of the climate crisis and the health and safety threat to Roselanders and others justified our civil disobedience action. Down through history, from Henry David Thoreau protesting the war with Mexico in the 1840’s to Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement risking their lives to end Jim Crow segregation in the South in the 1960’s, and many more, nonviolent civil disobedience has been used when the institutions of society have failed the test of justice. Such is our situation today. The movement in New Jersey and nationally and, indeed, internationally will not rest, and will continue to take what actions are necessary, until the power of the fossil fuel industry over our government is broken and job-creating renewables and just, energy-efficient economies are our reality throughout the world.”

Edmonds and Glick were represented by labor and progressive lawyer Bennet Zurofsky. Zurofsky donated his time and energies due to his own belief in the importance of action now on the climate crisis.