Minnesota Judge Drops Charges Against 3 Pipeline Activists

"Seattle residents had hoped to use ‘necessity defense’ in Minnesota court, arguing threat to planet was so great they had no choice"

"A Minnesota judge abruptly dismissed charges against three climate change activists during their trial on Tuesday, saying prosecutors had failed to prove that the protesters’ attempt to shut down two Enbridge Energy oil pipelines caused any damage.

The Clearwater county district judge Robert Tiffany threw the case out after prosecutors rested their case and before the protesters could use their defense: that the threat of climate change from using crude oil drilled from Canadian tar sands was so imminent that the activists’ actions were not only morally right, but necessary.

The attorneys had long fought to use a “necessity defense” during the trial of the three Seattle-area residents, two of whom admitted turning the emergency shut-off valves on the northwest Minnesota pipelines in 2016 as part of a coordinated action in four states. Such a defense has been used by other activists protesting pipelines."

Steve Karnowski reports for the Associated Press October 9, 2018.

Source: AP, 10/10/2018