(photograph credit: Travis Long, Raleigh News & Observer)
Friday, February 2 The Atlantic Coast Pipeline—and Democratic NC Governor Roy Cooper’s new role as chief Duke Energy-enabler—were held up to the spotlight recently in Raleigh when shortly after 8am twenty-five activists from within and without the state staged a nonviolent occupation of the Governor’s office.
Following an initially tense standoff in which the activists refused to obey police orders to leave, the Governor’s staff relented and agreed to a meeting in the reception area. Chief of staff, Christie Jones, and Energy policy director, Jeremy Tarr, spent ninety minutes listening as speakers conveyed dismay and anger with Cooper’s decision the previous Friday to issue the last outstanding major state permit to the pipeline. Tarr and Jones were also issued challenges both professional and personal to align their sense of integrity to the harsh reality of the climate crisis.
As events unfolded inside, speakers from the eight directly impacted eastern North Carolina counties spoke to assembled press outside the building. Later in the day numbers inside swelled to sixty as occupiers held a worship service led by faith community leaders from Robeson County, the nominal terminus of the proposed pipeline. This was followed by a public speak out of impacted landowners, again held inside the Governor’s office.
At 5pm, Capital Police closed the building after announcing that anyone remaining would be arrested and charged with trespassing. Fifteen people chose to ignore the warning and were taken into custody at about 6:15pm. All were charged, processed, and released with April court dates.