Leonard's Partner Angela's Thoughts Before Trial

"This is the first day of my partner, Leonard Higgins’, trial, taking place at the Chouteau County Courthouse, in Ft. Benton, Montana. In just a few short hours we’ll gather for a devotional time, in which beloved friends met through years of climate activism and beloved family will sing, tell resonant stories from the history of this region, and hold silent meditation or prayer in support of Leonard’s intention in court. We’ll then walk to the courthouse through streets covered with new snow, veering between light and dark thoughts and emotions of how the days might unfold.


Leonard is charged with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor criminal trespass, resulting from his actions on October 11, 2016 as part of the Valve Turner action in which all Canadian tar sands oil flowing into the United States was halted for a day. A jury of his peers will decide if the prosecution proved Leonard is guilty of those charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Should Leonard be convicted, the judge will decide the consequences, which can include up to ten years in jail or prison.

There is so much good information available online as to what led each person to participate in the Valve Turner action. I mainly want to say a few words about this man who is so central in my life.

Leonard and I were both climate activists before we met, and took part in a number of the same activities before we knew each other. An acquaintanceship developed that blossomed into friendship and love.

I veer now between deep admiration for Leonard for acting congruent with the level of emergency we face and deep fear he may face devastating consequences for his actions.  Along with so much more,  I admire his focus on climate justice, his warm personal presence, his many capabilities, his deep love of his family, the loving conversation and connection that we have. I would miss all this and more should he be imprisoned!

I can barely breathe at times these days." - @Angela standing with Leonard's daughter Sarah Robertson

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