Steve Liptay is an independent filmmaker who was documenting the valve-turning action in Leonard, MN. Steve was arraigned today on two misdemeanor charges in Bagley, MN for filming the October 11 action. He released the following statement:
Three weeks ago I received 2 misdemeanor charges in the mail from the State of Minnesota for trespass and aiding/abetting trespass on an Enbridge pipeline valve site where two activists took direct action to shut down the flow of tars sands from Alberta, Canada into the United States. The action was coordinated with three others in North Dakota, Montana and Washington in response to the call for International Days of Prayer and Action in solidarity with Standing Rock.
The charges came as no surprise given those recently handed down in North Dakota to journalists Amy Goodman, Deia Schlosberg and many others covering direct action protests of fossil fuel infrastructure. The fossil fuel industry, along side the politicians they purchase and the law enforcement they partner with, have shown little regard for the freedom of the press when journalists are reporting on the abuses these businesses inflict. Given the recent Republican take over of our federal government and the climate denial under which they will be driving energy policy, the stories of the struggle for climate justice have become more important than ever. They must be told and our freedom to tell them must be protected.
The only trespassing that warrants punishment by our justice system is the trespassing that the fossil fuel industry is perpetrating on our water, our land and our collective future. They aid and abet our addiction to fossil fuels by manipulating our politics with propaganda that pays no attention to science or the terrifying conditions being brought forth by climate change.
I was simply documenting two incredibly brave activists taking direct action to protect our water, our land and our future. We have an obligation to tell these stories. I'll appear in court today in Bagely, Minnesota for arraignment along side Annette Klapstein and Emily Johnston, the activists I was filming, to plead non-guilt to the charges that have been brought.