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Monday morning, February 4, four climate activists in Blackberry Township, Minnesota closed safety valves on a crude oil pipeline belonging to the Canadian energy corporation Enbridge. This is an escalation of ongoing activism aimed at Enbridge, which is facing stiff resistance to their plan to build a new high capacity crude oil pipeline, Line 3, through Minnesota and across multiple Native American reservations. It is also the second time in just over two years that activists have shut down Enbridge pipelines, citing the urgency of climate change as justifying their actions.
At 12pm Central time, the four activists broke into a fenced area containing emergency safety valves for Enbridge lines 1, 3 & 4. Following a time of prayer and laying an offerings onto the snow covered ground, the activists placed a safety phone call to Enbridge operations, to ensure that the pipeline would be safely shut down, and then proceeded to turn the emergency valve of Line 4. The activists confirmed that Enbridge remotely shut down Line 4.
The four activists, who are affiliated with the Catholic Worker movement, are Michele Naar Obed of Duluth, MN, Allyson Polman, Brenna Cussen Anglada, and Daniel Yildirim. The four were taken into custody by Itasca County Sheriffs at approximately 1:30pm.
The four activists were moved by their faith, their work with the marginalized, and work as farmers to take this unprecedented action. Allyson Polman said, “I believe every life is sacred. This is an act of grief for the state of violence the world is in. This is an act of celebration for the beauty of the earth. I am called to step into responsibility by standing in the way of this deadly fossil fuel industry.”
The three pipelines cross three Native American reservations and hundreds of miles of un-ceded treaty territory. Brenna Cussen Anglada said, “This act is step towards reparations for the damage that colonization has done both to the indigenous peoples of this continent and the land.”
This action comes on the heels of two activists being acquitted in Clearwater County court in October, 2018 for a similar pipeline shut down. Those activists, Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, shut down Enbridge Lines 4 & 67 in a multi-state coordinated action in 2016 that closed down all the tar sands flowing from Canada into the United States. In their criminal trial, the activists set precedence in Minnesota court allowing climate activists to argue that their actions are justifiable due to the necessity of taking action on climate change.
MORE PHOTOS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
ACTIVISTS STATEMENT: https://4necessitymn.wixsite.com/valveturners
LIVESTREAMS AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JETsy7yUDA