Photo courtesy of We Are Cove Point

Lusby, MD – Two protesters affiliated with We Are Cove Point, an organization opposed to a major construction project at a Southern Maryland gas plant, took their grievance to an unusual venue—Monday Night Football. A banner urging Bank of America to end its support for the project at Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant in Lusby was dropped by the activists, who suspended themselves from the upper deck of the stadium in Charlotte, NC.

According to a press release from We Are Cove Point, the banner which read “BoA: Dump Dominion,,” was seen by more than 70,000 people attending the Monday, Nov. 2 game between the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers. The Panthers’ play their home games at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The game was televised nationally by ESPN.

“Bank of America has played a major role in financing Dominion Resources and its $3.8 billion LNG export facility at Cove Point through Dominion Midstream,” the press release stated. “Bank of America is part of a consortium of banks that is lending Dominion up to $4 billion to finance several planned gas infrastructure projects. In June 2013, Bank of America also underwrote $275 million to contribute to the capital expense of the Dominion Cove Point facility. We Are Cove Point Activists are now calling on Bank of America and other lending institutions to stop financing Dominion.”

The two protesters who tethered themselves to the upper deck and unfurled the banner were identified in the press release as John Nicholson and Rica Madrid. Both protesters were lowered by fire department personnel and arrested by police, We Are Cove Point officials reported. Both Nicholson and Madrid have been charged with trespassing, resisting arrest and throwing or dropping an object at a sporting event. They face a bail hearing Nov. 3. Two other unidentified protesters were also apprehended by police and are facing charges.

“Dominion respects the right of peaceful protest, but the incident last night in Charlotte jeopardized the safety of the people at the game and the emergency responders who were forced to perform the rescue operation,” Dominion officials said in an official statement regarding the protest. “We are thankful that no one was injured. The Dominion Cove Point natural gas liquefaction project has been approved by federal, state and local governments. It is about 47 percent complete. Dominion had all the necessary permits and authorization before beginning construction in October 2014. Dominion has also had its financing for this project in place and 20-year contracts with customers signed before it began project construction, which is occurring at the existing LNG terminal that began operating nearly 40 years ago in Lusby.”

“It’s an embarrassing moment for the NFL and the Panthers, who get millions from Bank of America for naming rights on their stadium,” wrote columnist Frank Schwab in the Yahoo Sports blog ‘Shutdown Corner.’ “Carolina and all NFL stadiums have strict policies on what can be brought inside, so there will be many questions for stadium personnel of how two people got gear and a banner in.”

So far, Bank of America has not officially commented on the incident.

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