2 Activists Charged With 'Terrorizing' Lobbyist With Box of Plastic Pellets

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade members turned themselves in to authorities Thursday.

Two environmental activists have been charged with felonies for "terrorizing" an oil and gas lobbyist by delivering a box of plastic pollution products to his doorstep, authorities said. Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, turned themselves into the Baton Rouge police department on Thursday, the Times-Picayune reported, for an incident that occurred last year as part of an anti-pollution campaign.

The December “Nurdlefest” protest was organized to oppose a massive petrochemical and plastics complex scheduled to be built by Formosa Plastics in St James Parish.

"Nurdles" are plastic pellets used in plastics production. They have turned up as pollution in Texas coastal areas.

The "terrorizing" charges are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The advocates’ lawyer, Pam Spees, of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said they have no merit and are designed to deter demonstrators of the chemical complex.

The complaint alleges the women intended to cause fear by leaving a package at the home of an unnamed oil and gas lobbyist, Spees said. A folder contained plastic pellets and were accompanied by information saying pellets were hazardous to environmental and human health.

The box also included a warning that the small pellets could be a choking hazard for children.

The Baton Rogue Police Department said “a note was observed on the top of the package indicating not to open the container as the contents could be hazardous, officers who responded to a call at the home requested assistance from Hazmat authorities."

A spokesperson for the Formosa project, said the company was “unaware that this action was going to be taken by the Baton Rouge police department and had only heard second hand that deliveries of plastic pellets were made to several personal residences in the Baton Rouge area some months ago.”

Formosa has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it violated the Clean Water Act by discharging plastic pellets into bays from its plant in Point Comfort, Texas.

Baton Rogue police said arrest warrants for the women were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and detectives wanting to "respect the investigative process."