March 16, 2005

Actress arrested in EV1 protest

Burbank, California – “Baywatch” actress Alexandra Paul and another woman were arrested Monday after blocking the path of trucks hauling General Motors’ EV1 electric cars to Arizona to be destroyed.

Officers booked the two women on suspicion of failing to obey an officer. They were released on their own recognizance.

The EV1 electrical coupe was leased to 800 California residents in the late 1990s. When the leases ended last August, General Motors refused to sell the vehicles to the leaseholders, stating that they could not service them or guarantee their safety since many of the parts were no longer being made. Except for a few donated to universities and museums, the cars are gradually being crushed.

Paul was among dozens of supporters holding an around-the-clock vigil outside a GM training centre, where more than 70 EV1s had been stored en route to a recycling plant near Mesa, Arizona. GM declined the group’s offer to pay a total of US$1.9 million for them. Police said Paul was in a car that blocked the driveway for two hours as trucks loaded with EV1s were attempting to leave, and refused to move despite police orders.

Once the driveway was cleared, four trucks hauled away 28 of the vehicles.

“Our goal is not to have anyone arrested,” said GM spokesperson Dave Barthmuss. “We respect their beliefs, but we have to be allowed to do business and carry out our business decisions as would any company.”

The protest group, which includes environmentalists, technology enthusiasts and entertainment industry workers, said a month-long vigil will continue despite the arrests.

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