On the 13th of March, “Kayaktivists” with a banner set up from their boats joined a protest at Solomons, MD against LNG export out of nearby Cove Point, MD. Kayaks were used as half of the blockade of the ports of Seattle and Portland that nearly trapped one of Shell’s arctic drilling ships in harbor, and have now appeared in Calvert County, MD as part of the toolbox of resistance that can be deployed against Dominion’s efforts to export fracked gas.
Last year’s “paddle in Seatte” was followed by the famous Portland bridge banner hang and blockade when Shell’s ship had to pull into Portland for emergency repairs. This was composed or two elements: kayakers on the water blocking the ship channel, and an aerial blockade of banner hangers who rappled from a bridge that the ship had to pass under. Both could be moved to permit other ships to pass but stood their ground against Shell’s drilling support ship. Police boats had to ram through the kayaks (running down at least one kayaktivist) and Shell’s ship barely escaped-only to help drill a dry hole that forced Shell to give up for now on drilling the Arctic.
Some of the folks who made the Paddle in Seattle possible came to southern MD to train kayaktivists during “Cove Point Spring Break” which culminated in the combined protests at the Solomons boardwalk and on the water. This was a family-friendly community driven event but also served as a display of new capability to resist Dominion’s invasion of Calvert County. This time around, the kayaktivsits simply went boating, carefully observing all boating safety regulations while displaying a banner for the cameras.
Dominion is about 1/4 of the way through converting the old liquified natural gas (LNG) plant at Cove Point, MD into a substantially larger export plant for fracked gas from both existing and new fracking “sacrifice zones.”
The entire population of Cove Point and much of the town of Lusby, MD is at risk of being incinerated if there is ever an accident at Dominion’s gas plant. The Calvert Cliff nuclear plant could be isolated from the electrical grid by such an accident as well, and isolation from the grid was what caused the Fukashima meltdown. Thus, Dominion has declared all of southern Calvert County to be potentially a “sacrifice zone” so they can attempt to profit by exporting fracked gas.
Many of the residents of Cove Point and Lusby are furious about this, but Dominion has essentially bought off the Calvert County Sheriff’s Dept. Thus, the police have to this point responded to the ongoing campaign of protest and resistance with intimidation, illegal arrests, and prosecutions on spurious charges. On March 13, the Sheriff’s Dept skulked in the background but kept their distance while kayaktivists paddled past the dock used by Dominion to offload their “megaloads” from barges and set up a banner on the water off the boardwalk. The introduction of kayaks and waterborne protests means Dominion’s security and their bought and paid for police now have to spread out their defenses to cover the water as well as the land.
Dominion’s “offsite B” barge dock as seen from a kayak