Pipeline protesters plead not guilty | Arkansas Blog

Pipeline protesters plead not guilty



Two people arrested for trespassing in attempting to halt construction of a crude oil pipeline near a crossing of the St. Francis River pleaded not guilty Wednesday in district court in Forrest City.

Fox 13 reported on the court appearance of Frank Klein of Mount Ida and Amber Stolebarger of Jonesboro, arrested Monday after they chained themselves to a piece of heavy machinery and forced a halt to construction work on the Diamond pipeline for about two hours. We reported on the arrests earlier. The protesters are part of a group called Arkansas Rising.

The two were denied public defenders for a coming trial. Reported Fox 13:'

“I did what I did, because there was no legal precedent for me to move on,” said Stolebarger. “There were no meetings in courthouses, no information to the public, no EPA statement.”

Wednesday, they both told a judge they were not guilty. If convicted they face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Despite the potential punishment, Klein, Stolebarger, and their group remains determined and optimistic.

“I'm doing this for my kids. I'm an old man, I'm 62, I can sit in jail,” said Klein.

“Maybe I did break a law of criminal trespassing in some people’s eyes, but in my opinion, I deterred from the law in order to expose a greater crime,” said Stolebarger.

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