Here are some places we are putting major support behind activists right now. Are you in need of advice or support for an action you have taken? Contact us.
In the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, Spectra Energy was building a lateral fracked-gas pipeline to a new compressor station off of their existing AIM pipeline. Several groups emerged working to stop construction of the now-completed pipeline. Beginning October 7, 2015, Resist The Pipeline began a campaign of climate disobedience, getting in the way of active pipeline construction. Climate Disobedience Center founder Marla Marcum provided training, logistical and jail support for Resist the Pipeline.
The campaign grew, and eventually 198 people were arrested and days of work stalled or stopped for many days over the course of a year. The tactics escalated as well, beginning with just a few individuals in front of equipment and ending with large days of mass occupation, and other more disruptive actions.
On June 29, 2016, faith leaders including Boston's Mariama White-Hammond, Union Theological Seminary Center for Earth Ethics director Karena Gore, and Climate Disobedience founder Tim DeChristopher joined an unprecedented action in the campaign: they entered the trench of the pipeline and in silence lay down, evoking the mass graves that were then being dug in Pakistan in response to a massive heatwave which killed thousands.
13 activists from the campaign, including 6 who participated in the "mass graves action," took their defense to trial on March 27th, 2018, supported by the Climate Disobedience Center. The activists were committed to mounting a climate necessity defense, arguing that they had no reasonable alternative to putting themselves in the path of the pipeline's construction. At the last moment, the prosecution dropped their charges to a civil infraction, which meant they no longer had the right to a jury trial. Rather than present several days of necessity defense with expert witnesses, the defendants had just two minutes a piece to make a very concise necessity argument. They were able to convince the judge, who acquitted them by reason of necessity, which was a first in climate cases in the US. Read more about their exciting result here.
The Valve Turners
On October 11, 2016, five brave activists closed manual shut-off valves on the five pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands into the United States. They are now known as the valve turners. Climate Disobedience Center founder Ken Ward along with Emily Johnston, Annette Klapstein, Michael Foster and Leonard Higgins and three other supporters all faced serious felony charges. Ken was tried twice, first in January with a mis-trial on both charges, and again in June when he was convicted of one charge of tresspass and sentenced to 30 days of community service.
Michael Foster was convicted in North Dakota, where he is serving a one year prison sentence. Leonard Higgins was also convicted in Montana, and he received probation and time served, avoiding a prison sentence.
The trial in Minnesota is likely to break ground, though it has yet to be scheduled: Minnesota defendants have been cleared by the judge to offer a climate necessity defense at their two trials. The prosecution appealed the trial judge's necessity ruling, and then the defendants successfully won at the state appeals court, further preserving their right to use the necessity defense. The prosecution again appealed to the Minnesota supreme court, where we await a final ruling.
Jess and Ruby
Two activists with the Catholic Worker Movement, Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya, publicly announced this past summer that they had damaged Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline across hundreds of miles during the pipeline's construction, inspired by the indigenous movement at Standing Rock.
Jess and Ruby are expecting an indictment, but have not yet had charges pressed against them. We at the Climate Disobedience Center are helping the pair navigate their situation as it develops.