Greenpeace Disrupters Arrested for Shutting Down Houston Ship Channel
Ahead of the September 12th Democratic presidential primary debate, activists from the group Greenpeace were arrested after pulling a stunt that briefly held Houston commuters hostage and interfered with operations in the Houston Ship Channel. Hoping to “confront the oil industry” and using proximity to the debate to attract attention, a van full of activists caused a three car crash that sent one person to the hospital when they abruptly stopped to offload the protesters on the bridge. Eleven of the 22 protesters dangled from the bridge by rope and threatened to lower themselves into the path of ships, leading the Coast Guard and Port of Houston to close the ship channel to traffic.
A spokeswoman for the Port of Houston pointed out that ships using the channel build disruptions into their schedules, so the “protest” would not likely have major or sustained impact on the flow of commerce through the waterway. She also noted the Houston Ship Channel “generates $802 billion in economic value to the United States economy and provides 3.2 million jobs to the country.”
Enterprise Products Partners CEO Jim Teague told the Houston Chronicle based on photos of the arrested protesters “every bit of their protective clothing is made out of hydrocarbons. The hypocrisy of that is unbelievable.”
While the protesters managed to generate a lot of news coverage and potentially hefty legal bills, the impact on the Democratic debate was probably not what they hoped. According to a transcript of the debate, “climate change” was only mentioned four times in the first hour, the highest-rated portion of the debate. Sadly, the moderators did not get around to asking the candidates if they agreed with the tactics of Greenpeace. Perhaps next time—but we won’t hold our breath.