SPOKANE, Wash. – A member of the activist group Veterans for Peace had his first court hearing Monday.
Reverend George Taylor was one of six activist from Veterans for Peace and The Raging Grannies that were arrested in August and September 2016 for blocking coal and oil trains. Attorneys said the other five activists have taken plea deals.
The hearing was held so Taylor's attorneys could present their defense. They plan on using the "necessity defense".
Taylor's defense attorney said Monday’s hearing was another form of protest. He said Taylor did what he did to protect others by protecting the environment. His legal team brought in experts to argue the effects of global warming and how the coal and oil industry contribute to it. The defense found a global ecologist that works for NASA to take the stand. He testified there is clear documentation that global temperatures are rising and the affects could be detrimental to people.
"I'm not saying everybody would be dead but I think there would be so much destruction world wide of all societies, that I think it would be absolute global chaos," said climate change expert Steve Running.
Prosecutors tried to make the point that the coal and oil industries are not the only the things that contribute to global warming.
Taylor said he is 77-years-old and he has got nothing to lose. He said he is doing this for his grandchildren. He said he is determined to follow through with this case.
"We stood on the tracks. We broke the law in terms of trespassing but for the greater good of bringing the attention to the public of these coal and oil trains that are a public threat and also threaten the global climate," said Taylor.
Expert testimony took hours and the judge decided to put the hearing on hold until late August.