Pipeline Protesters Acquitted

Three activists who manually shut down two pipelines in Minnesota were acquitted of felony charges yesterday.

Annette Klapstein and Emily Nesbitt Johnston turned key valves in the pipelines with the support of Benjamin Joldersma in order to shut down the flow of fossil fuels in 2016.

The trio pursued a “necessity defense,” claiming that the impending danger of climate change necessitated their direct action, but were acquitted based on the fact that they did no damage to the pipeline and never intended any damage.

Unfortunately, the presiding district court judge ruled Monday that climate experts such as 350.org founder Bill McKibben and former NASA climate scientist James Hansen would not be permitted to testify on behalf of the protesters.

There maintained hope, however.

Back in March, a Massachusetts judge ruled in favor of 13 climate activists who blocked construction of the Spectra Energy pipeline that was planned to run through the Boston neighborhood of West Roxbury.

That case was the first time a judge has ever recognized the continued production and use of fossil fuels as a direct threat to both communal and environmental well-being.

Basically, the judge decided that an individual’s right to quality of life by means of good health and a clean environment actually outweighs the capitalist “need” to produce more fossil fuels.

Although this case didn’t play out in exactly the same way, it is still a definitive win for climate activists everywhere.

Iron Triangle Press continues to follow issues of climate law and activism.

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