Environmentalists charged with terrorizing oil and gas lobbyist with box of plastic pellets

Environmentalists charged with terrorizing oil and gas lobbyist with box of plastic pellets
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Two women in Louisiana face felony charges after leaving a box full of plastic pellets that they claimed were "dumped" into local waterways by Formosa Plastics on the doorsteps of company officials' houses.

Nola.com reported that Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh face charges of terrorizing and principal to terrorizing, respectively, and could face more than a decade in prison if convicted. The two are accused of leaving a box of plastic pellets on the front porches or doorsteps of several officials at Formosa Plastics, along with notes clearly labeling the boxes' contents.

"These are just some of the billions of nurdles that Formosa Plastics dumped into the coastal waters of the state of Texas," the note said, according to Nola.com. "These were used as evidence in a landmark lawsuit filed against Formosa under the Clean Water Act."

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The two women are members of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a local environmentalist group. An attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights representing the two women dismissed the charges as politically motivated and without legal merit in a statement to Nola.com.

“They do not even pass the laugh test," Pam Spees said. "We ask the district attorney to look carefully at these arrests and reject the charges against these two dedicated advocates as soon as possible.”

Locals have blamed the company and other petrochemical plants along an 84-mile stretch of Louisiana known as "Cancer Alley" for rising rates of cancers and other illnesses. The two women's actions were apparently part of an event known as "Nurdlefest," named after the plastic pellets known as "nurdles" produced by plastic manufacturing plants.

A district attorney declined to comment on the case to Nola.com when contacted, citing unfamiliarity with the charges. A spokesperson for Formosa Plastics said that the company was unaware that officials planned to charge the activists.

"[Formosa] was unaware that this action was going to be taken by the Baton Rouge Police Department and had only heard secondhand that deliveries of plastic pellets were made to several personal residences in the Baton Rouge area some months ago," a spokesperson told Nola.com.