Physics prof. chains self to gate to protest pipeline

The act was a protest of the company's plan to expand its natural gas pipeline.

According to the arresting officer, it took firefighters 30 minutes to remove the two men from the fence.

University of Rhode Island Physics Professor Peter Nightingale and another man chained themselves to the entrance of Spectra Energy's Burrillville Compressor Station.

A professor of physics at University of Rhode Island was arrested Thursday morning and forcibly removed from Spectra Energy’s Burrillville Compressor Station after he was found chained to the entrance with another man.

According to the Providence Journal, as a protest to Spectra Energy’s plan to expand its natural gas pipeline, Professor Peter Nightingale and a man by the name of Curt Nordgaard linked their arms with PVC pipe wrapped in chicken wire and tar before locking themselves to the driveway entrance gate of the Burrillville energy facility. According to the arresting officer, Burrillville PD Lieutenant John Connors, it took firefighters 30 minutes to remove the two men from the fence.

According to the organization responsible for the protest, Fighting Against Natural Gas (FANG), Nightingale and Nordgaard were arrested and taken to jail by ambulance after they refused to remove themselves.. However, the Journal reports that they were transported to Rhode Island Hospital, “where medical staff removed the pipe device linking their arms.”

In addition to Nightingale and Nordgaard, three other activists were present at the facility but were not arrested.

This is not the first time Nightingale has been arrested for protesting the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project. Last December, Nightingale and several other protesters were intentionally arrested following a sit-in at U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D) Providence office and fined $300 for the incident. After his first arrest, Nightingale proclaimed in a post that “[o]nly civil resistance will bring change” and compared his work to that of Martin Luther King, Jr.

FANG tweeted out pictures of the protest and publisheda post on its blog declaring that the action was in response to the $700 million gas power plant that would be built on Spectra’s property in Burrillville. In the post, FANG also pledged its commitment to “prevent Spectra from completing their expansion projects.”

FANG is an organization that was “created in response to the above corporate and political propaganda machine that all but assures a climate catastrophe.”

Lieutenant Connors expects the two men to be charged with trespassing and would seek to have them pay restitution for the damage done to the fence.

URI told Campus Reform that “Professor Nightingale was exercising his First Amendment rights as a private citizen and his actions do not represent the University of Rhode Island.”

Nightingale did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform.

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