by Nick Engelfried, University of Montana at Missoula, Missoula, MT
It's Day Three of the Coal Export Action, one of the boldest attempts to reclaim our future from the coal industry that the West has yet seen. So far hundreds of people have participated, and we've truly made a splash in the Montana media. In the first two days of the action, ten people were arrested for civil disobedience, including Montana environmental author Rick Bass. We expect more arrests tonight and in days ahead.
This has already become the largest civil disobedience related to coal and climate change the Northern Rockies region has ever seen (at least as far as anyone I've asked can tell). Now we can continue this momentum, and make it the biggest energy policy-related direct action in the region, period. But we need your help.
The good news is the law enforcement officials we’ve interacted with have been, almost without exception, respectful and polite to the utmost. Of the people taken to jail, those who chose to post bail were released after a few hours. Others haven’t paid bail, and were released the following morning. Our top-notch legal defense team has been wonderful.
The bad news is bail costs, while still relatively low, have been higher than we were led to believe. Bail is $340 per person, and not everyone can afford that. While those willing to stay a night in jail are released without bail the next day, this isn’t an option for everyone.
Civil disobedience is a key part of this action, and we want to make it as powerful as possible. We also want folks living on a small income to be able to participate, without the worry that it means missing a rent payment. In short, we need to build the action's fund for bail and legal expenses. If you have the ability, please contribute what you can!