This morning in Skagit County, Washington, a jury was selected to re-try Ken Ward for shutting down Kinder-Morgan's TransMountain pipeline in October 2016: the first of four trials for the valve turners who closed off 15% of the US daily oil supply.
Today the courtroom was lively with big hearted supporters. The jury selection wrapped up by noon and opening statements began fresh after lunch. The prosecutor’s brief opening was followed by a lyrical opening by Lauren Regan, who managed to describe the extraction and transport of tar sands, map the horror of imminent climate catastrophe, lay a framework for the necessity defense, and illuminate intersections with corporate greed, all before an objection.Read more
It's finally official, the valve turners (at least some of them!) are touring the East Coast June 1-4th! Spread the word and come out to see us. Click on the links for more information.
Thursday June 1st, 6PM - Circle of Hope 2007 Frankfort Ave.
Co-hosted by EDGE, 350 Philly and Resist Sonoco PA, Minnesota valve-turner Annette Klapstein will be joined by film maker Steve Liptay, who is facing charges for documenting the closure of the 2 Enbridge pipelines in Minnesota, and Jay O'Hara who worked the "command center" on action day.
Valve Turner Emily Johnston will catch up with us and Annette and Steve will be joined by Emmy-award winning film maker Deia Schlosberg, who was arrested documenting the action in North Dakota. Jay will be your moderator.
Sunday June 4th, 7PM - First Church UU, 6 Eliot St, Jamaica Plain
In Boston, the JP Forum will host Annette, Emily, and Jay - moderated by Marla Marcum, director of the Climate Disobedience Center.
This is my first sermon, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I ramble a little.
I know that a good sermon should have a story in it, so I’ve tried to do that. But I also feel a real responsibility to convey not just a little bit about my own journey, but about what I think the world needs from all of us right now.
Yesterday Judge Rickert, presiding over the prosecution of Ken Ward in Skagit County, Washington for shutting down the Trans Mountain Pipeline, denied Ken's appeal to use the necessity defense at his retrial May 22nd. We released the following Press Release this morning. Take a look for more information about the state of legal proceedings in Washington, Minnesota and Montana.
By Ben Jervey, GOOD Magazine
KEN WARD NEVER DENIED THAT HE BROKE THE LAW. Facing a possible 20 years in prison for taking bolt cutters to an oil company’s property and manually shutting down a pipeline that funnels tar sands crude to refineries in Anacortes, Washington, Ward showed the jury a video of exactly how he did it. How he cut the chain on the pipeline’s valve wheel and closed it down. Despite the uncontested facts of the case, and the fact that the presiding judge had denied Ward the use of a “necessity defense” that would legally justify his otherwise illegal actions, the jurors were unable to come to unanimous agreement. A mistrial. Today, Ward walks free awaiting a retrial.
Cross posted from the 350Seattle blog
On October 11, 2016, my husband Ben was among those supporting the 5 activists who shut down all five tar sands pipelines into the US in an action called #ShutItDown. Theirs was an unprecedented act of climate direct action, and the biggest coordinated move on U.S. energy infrastructure ever undertaken by environmental protesters. Ben faces up to 5 years in prison (the people who actually turned the valves face up to 21 years). We’re in the waiting period, with ears ready for trial dates and lots of time for reflecting…
Many of my friends have had serious and loving questions for me. Why would Ben and you take this risk? What will you do if he goes to jail for a spell? Why civil disobedience? What good do you think the action will do? What’s the impact? Why does the Necessity Defense matter?
And then there are the questions I ask myself: Does the positive impact of the action outweigh the consequences? How do we organize to make mass actions commonplace? Does this action honor and integrate with the indigenous rights movement? With the immigrants rights crisis? With all the fucking crises? How do we use direct actions as flash points to move people closer to political engagement and radical action? Is my phone a listening device now? No, really—right now?Read more
They didn’t look like heroes.
But the so-called “valve turners” — five climate activists who got themselves arrested on Oct. 11 when they broke into oil company control stations in four states and simultaneously shut off pipelines carrying Canadian crude into the United States — got a heroes’ welcome from a Corvallis audience Saturday night.
Today, the judge in Michael's and Sam's case dropped their felony "reckless endangerment" charges (for Michael, it had been both reckless endangerment and conspiracy to reckless endangerment; for Sam, it had been only the conspiracy charge). Those charges apparently require "extreme indifference" to human life, and she said that burden wasn't met. They do retain misdemeanor reckless endangerment charges. And they still have misdemeanor trespass (and conspiracy to trespass) charges.
Michael still has a felony "criminal mischief" charge as well as a felony conspiracy to commit criminal mischief; Sam has the latter only. But these charges require the state to prove that there was significant damage...so the long and short of it is that while their legal troubles are not over, it now seems notably less likely they will spend years in prison.
So: wow. And let me just say too....Mike's & Sam's lack of extreme indifference to human life....is why they were there that day.
Onward we go!Read more