Contact: nicole Bradford

Friday Oct 21th, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: #ShutItDown Climate Change Activist and Filmmakers Arraigned in Mt. Vernon

Yesterday at 930AM, Ken Ward, one of the five climate activists who shut down Canadian tar-sands oil flowing to the US on October 11, was arraigned in Skagit County District Court in Mt Vernon, WA on four charges: burglary, criminal trespass, sabotage and assemblages of saboteurs. Ward’s action, of closing a safety valve on the TransMountain pipeline, was done in coordination on four other pipelines across the country. Documentary filmmakers Lindsey Grayzel and Carl Davis, who neither participated in the action nor trespassed, but were on site to document Ken’s actions, were arraigned on conspiracy charges.

 In a statement outside of the courthouse after his arraignment Ward said “I am a responsible and law abiding citizen. I have never been charged with a crime until four years ago when I anchored a lobster boat off a pier at the Brayton Point coal-fired power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, and last May, when I joined the Break Free from Fossil Fuels oil train blockade at Anacortes. 

“I did these things because I believe that it is the obligation of every thinking person to find a way to stave off climate cataclysm, and there is no effective, legal alternative to personal direct action.”

“In this context and with these terrible imperatives, my actions of walking across a field and cutting a fence chain are inconsequential and excusable compared to the ghastly affect of continuing to burn tar sands oil.”

 A recent study by Oil Change International titled “The Sky’s Limit” clarifies that substantial amounts of fossil fuels must be left in the ground for a good chance at a habitable planet, starting with tar sands oil and coal.

Four other activists, two support team members and another independent documentary filmmaker are also facing charges in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana.

More information:

Ken Ward is available for interview.

Full statement available here.

Video of Statement available.


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