Top 3 Times Environmental Activists Have Taken Direct Action To Stop Oil Lines

Top 3 Times Environmental Activists Have Taken Direct Action To Stop Oil Lines

When you hear the word valve turner, you probably think of the process of valve exercising. However, this term can also be applied to the climate change activists who shut down oil lines. These people hope to draw attention to the global problem and one of its main contributors.

Several different groups have acted in this way. In most of these cases, they notified the oil companies ahead of time, and they took proper safety precautions. Then, these individuals waited for arrest and attempted to use media attention to highlight climate change.

December 2015

In December of 2015, Enbridge began using line 9 to start carrying western oil to easter refineries. An activist group responded by turning a shut-off valve for this line. After stopping oil from flowing through this line, these people locked themself to the same emergency shut-off valve. Shortly after this occurrence, another activist group turned a shut-off valve for the line.

October 2016

In October 2016, five members of a large climate activist group turned valves across the United States. Michael Foster of North Dakota, Leonard Higgins of Montana, Annette Klapstein and Emily Johnston of Minessota, and Ken Ward of Washington all turned their valves simultaneously.

Once they were arrested, all five of the group were planning to use a necessity defense argument to highlight climate change. Initially, the judge presiding over their case permitted them to use this defense argument. However, he ended up dismissing several cases before the activists were able to make their necessity cases. The rest were prohibited from mounting a necessity defense case during their trials. While the activists got light sentences or their charges dismissed, many of them were disappointed that they did not get to draw attention to their cause. They had planned to present an argument that would help change public opinions on oil and climate change.

February 2019

In February 2019, four activists were arrested while shutting down Enbridge’s Line 4 in Minnesota. The group highlighted the necessity of shutting down oil lines in the face of climate change. These activists informed the company of their plans beforehand, and Enbridge was able to stop the oil flow in the line remotely for increased safety.

Valve Turners has become a term used to describe people taking direct action against fossil fuels. These environmental activists have turned the valves on oil lines multiple times to speak up against climate change.

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