Pipeline Updates: Breathing Room on Line 3 Construction, the Necessity Defense Gains Ground, and More

Lots of news to share on the pipeline front, short summaries and links follow

  • Positive sign: Enbridge tells shareholders Line 3 construction won’t start until year’s end
  • Massachusetts judge affirms “Necessity Defense” for civil disobedience against pipeline causing climate damage
  • Michigan Governor stops Enbridge Line 5 tunnel under the Great Lakes
  • “Stop bankrolling Line 3” event
  • Enbridge’s greenwashing

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Events: “Necessity” the Movie; Native Land Return in Minnesota; and More

In this blog:

  • “Necessity: Oil, Water and Climate Resistance”: A Documentary on the Necessity Defense
  • Free Meal and Talk on Native Land Return in Minnesota
  • Free Meal and Screening of “Dodging Bullets,” a Film on Historical Trauma
  • Annual Holiday Art Market at All Nations Indian Church

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Climate Change Report Makes it Urgent the PUC Reverses Vote to Approve the Line 3 Oil Pipeline; Judge Tosses Valve Turner Case

United Nations scientists say the world has only a decade to get climate change under control or face devastating consequences. That makes it urgent for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reverse its vote approving the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota — a project that would contribute to gas and oil combustion creating $287 billion in climate change costs over three decades.

In related news, a Clearwater County judge tossed out 2016 felony charges against the “Valve Turners,” people who temporarily shut off Enbrdige crude oil pipelines in Minnesota to protest their contribution to climate change. While Valve Turners in other states have been convicted and received prison time, here in Minnesota the judge ruled “the circumstances did not rise to the level of the charges filed against them,” according to a story in the Bemidji Pioneer.

While the defendants are undoubtedly relieved, they probably feel some disappointment, too. They had prepared to use the “Necessity Defense,” arguing the harm caused by their actions was insignificant compared to the climate change damage they were trying to prevent. Arguing “Necessity” could have set an important precedent for other activists working to stop climate change. A few days before the trial, the judge barred expert testimony on the climate crisis, according to a story in Common Dreams.

The judge’s ruling avoided the Necessity Defense, leaving the argument for future cases.

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What is the ‘Necessity Defense’? Updates on DAPL and Keystone XL

File photo.

News reports about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Keystone XL have faded into the background locally, but resistance continues from Standing Rock to Louisiana.

Here are a few updates:

  • North Dakota prosecutors dropped felony charges against Chase Iron Eyes for criminal trespass and incitement of a riot. The charges stem from DAPL events in early 2017. Iron Eyes was ready to put on a ‘Necessity Defense.’
  • A federal judge sided with water protectors who challenged the Trump administration’s fast track approval of a reroute of the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska.
  • Louisiana authorities are using harsher trespass laws to prosecute water protectors opposing construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, DAPL’s southern extension. A fund-raising concert is planned in Duluth for Saturday, Oct. 13 to raise money for these water protectors.

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News/Events: Native Youth Visit Vatican; ‘Horse Nation’ Art Opening; and The ‘Necessity Defense’

Some quick thumbnails of news and events.

Report on Native Youth’s Visit to the Vatican: On Thursday, June 14, Mitch Walking Elk and one of the Native youth who traveled to the Vatican in May will give an update on their trip and their efforts to get the Pope to officially revoke the Doctrine of Discovery. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held at St. Olaf Church (215 South 8th Street, Minneapolis) in the Forliti  Gathering Room. Supper (also free) and social begins at 6:30 p.m. and the program runs from 6:45 – 8:30 p.m. Continue reading