Welcome to the #ShutItDown website of the tar sands pipeline valve-turners! Five activists, three supporters and one documentary filmmaker are being prosecuted for taking direct action to avert climate cataclysm on October 11, 2016.
The first of these, Ken Ward, stands trial January 30th in Skagit County, Washington. Here's how you can follow along:
First, sign up to our email list to receive updates.
To keep up with the action live-tweeted from the courtroom in Mount Vernon, follow @enjohnston and @climatedisobey on Twitter. And we'll be using #ValveTurners #ClimateTrial and #ShutItDown. Tweet away!
On Facebook, Like the #ShutItDown page - we'll be posting updates and doing Live video updates as the trial proceeds.
Finally, if you're looking to learn more about the "action that shook the North American energy industry" and find the video re-cap, check out our pages about the action.
"Havel wrote about 'living in the truth' where you neither have to filter information, you can speak the truth and speak honestly. There may be some risks or costs to that, but it's a far better way to live."
Ken Ward was the first of the valve turners to head to trial, and having had a hung-jury is back on trial June 5th for shutting down a tar sands pipeline. These are his thoughts the day before he took action in October 2016.
Before the holiday season happened, valve turner Emily Johnston was busy writing up a storm and had two pieces published on AlternNet and on Naomi Klein's blog.
In Alternet she writes, "I’ve been thinking a lot about risk lately—what we’re willing to risk, and why. I was one of five activists who turned off the major tar sands pipelines coming into the United States on Oct. 11, 2016. As a result, I’m risking prison time, ostensibly for property damage (we cut a few chains to access the valves), but really for being disobedient to business as usual. It's also possible they'll file a restitution suit, for temporarily disrupting a pipeline that’s highly profitable for some, at the expense of all others.
"I took part in the action in full awareness of these risks—in dread of them, to some degree—because of the risk that Enbridge and the other companies engaged in the extraction, transport and sale of tar sands are taking, which is the unimaginably huge risk that if the world’s scientists are correct, what really flows through those pipelines is the end of human history."
"To understand our power as citizens of the world, we have to remember that in countries where it’s still frowned upon to murder environmental activists, fossil fuel companies cannot operate without our consent. What does that consent look like? It looks like the Standing Rock Sioux deciding not to defend their water and their sacred sites. It looks like Seattle shrugging when an Arctic drilling rig is in our port, and figuring well, they’re going to do it anyway. It looks like Keystone XL being built in 2011, because ranchers and Native Americans and young people across the country believe the industry when its arrogant executives tell us it’s a done deal. It looks like people leaving their money in banks that fund these terrible projects, because they don’t see how it matters, or they think the banks are all equally bad.
"In a democracy, passivity is implicit consent. In any political system, hopelessness is self-fulfilling. When we fight, we win."
Recorded on December 13, 2016, the valve turners and supporters joined Kathleen Dean Moore for a conversation about grief, fear, hope and the motivations for their actions. They told stories of their actions and filled in some details on the upcoming legal process. If you're looking for the short film we featured during the web cast, stay tuned; we'll be releasing it soon.
The state of North Dakota has suspended prosecution of Emmy-award winning filmmaker Deia Schlosberg who was arrested while documenting the tar sands valve turning action at TransCanada's Keystone pipeline on October 11. Deia's latest film, with Josh Fox, is "HOW TO LET OF THE WORLD AND LOVE ALL THE THINGS CLIMATE CAN’T CHANGE". Below is her statement following the suspension of prosecution. -Jay
I would like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone that supported me and my fellow filmmakers and journalists since our arrests on October 11th for covering the #ShutItDown action. The number of people that have reached out to me, signed the petitions, shared our story, and contributed to legal funds have certainly fortified my faith in humanity after a rather trying time.Read more
It’s been three weeks since five brave valve-turners shut down the tar sands oil flowing into the United States, and 11 people--valve-turners, supporters and documentarians--are being charged with a multitude of felonies and misdemeanors from Assembling Saboteurs to Conspiracy to Tamper or Damage a Public Service.
But these folks are not rolling over or giving over to fear. The valve-turners are preparing to argue that these actions are critically necessary, and are ready to defend what they have done.
Court dates are coming up on a rolling basis. And we’re facing more expenses than expected: we are having to pay substantial fees to hire lawyers. In North Dakota alone this will cost $35,000.
In addition to the 10 arrested during the action itself, Steve Liptay, a documentarian covering the action in Minnesota, received charges in the mail a week and a half ago. He is due in court today.
Michael, Sam and Deia - arrested in North Dakota - are scheduled in court on November 7th. Your support will make sure that they are adequately defended, and that their stories of valiant action in the face of climate cataclysm will be shared across the country and around the world.
Many of you said that you were interested in taking action, and others told us you were ready to help raise money to support this work. We’ll be getting back in touch with you over the coming weeks to follow up.
Thanks you so much for your support.