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Extremist Pipeline Opponents Want Mob Justice by Petition


Keep It Grounded In Fact
(American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers)


Pipeline opponents are becoming more extremist by the day and now want mob justice by petition in defense of their acts of sabotage and domestic terrorism.

Faced with often overwhelming evidence of their guilt—including numerous live-streaming episodes of their own criminal “actions” on Facebook—anti-pipeline eco-terrorists are starting to employ novel legal defense strategies which, for the most part, are failing spectacularly.

One strategy can best be summed up as “justice by petition.”

pipeline opponents

Backwater Bridge violence

One year to the day after more than 400 protesters stormed a line of police officers on the Backwater Bridge in an effort to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, a dozen activists with the Lakota People’s Law Project delivered a petition to the Morton County (ND) state’s attorney requesting that all charges be dropped against the violent protesters. But even with 55,000 signatures (many of which were gathered online) the odds are quite slim that the state’s attorney is going to ignore the premeditated and unprovoked violent attack that resulted in numerous injuries to law enforcement and protesters alike.

Other eco-terrorist defendants are asking judges to let them use a “necessity defense,” a unique strategy that involves admitting guilt but arguing that the defendant simply had no alternative but to do something illegal to prevent serious harm. Specifically, a defendant must prove that:

  • ·         there was a specific threat of significant, imminent danger;
  • ·         there was no practical alternative to the act; and
  • ·         the harm caused wasn’t greater than the harm prevented.

In the case of the activist “valve turners” who have attempted to use the necessity defense, they miss that mark by a long shot.

The “valve turners” are a band of aging activists who launched a coordinated effort last year to temporarily stop the flow of oil from Canada to the US through four states—Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota—by breaking into the pipeline valve stations and closing emergency shut-off valves. To date, four of the five defendants were prohibited from using the necessity defense and were quickly convicted of multiple felonies. The jury in Montana took less than an hour to find valve turner Leonard Higgins guilty of felony criminal mischief. He is facing up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in January.

pipeline opponents

Convicted felon Leonard Higgins

One valve turner, Emily Johnston, the co-founder of 350Seattle.org who is facing two felony counts for her role in shutting down a pipeline in Minnesota, was actually granted permission by the judge to use the necessity defense. But, according to the judge’s memo granting the motion, the bar is set very high. Specifically, the defendants in this case must, among other things, “show that the defendant was in danger of imminent physical harm, and there was a direct causal connection between breaking the law and preventing the harm.”

Considering that the pipeline had been safely transporting oil for years, the only time the defendant was in any danger was when she broke into a secure valve station and sabotaged the pipeline.

But, as with all eco-terrorists actions, these crimes are not about stopping the flow of oil. They are PR stunts designed to generate media attention and public support for their misguided political agendas.

In fact, the “Keep It in the Ground” activist network cheered the judge’s decision to allow the necessity defense as a “groundbreaking” and “precedent-setting.” And 350.org founder and perpetual activist, Bill McKibben (who is being called a “potential expert witness” in Johnston’s trial) said, “The whole planet will be inside a single courtroom the day this trial begins.”

That day is tentatively scheduled for December 11, 2017. We’ll keep you posted.

Editor’s Note: Bill McKibben never met an eco-terrorist he didn’t like, so it’s no surprise he may offer his services in defense of these extremist pipeline opponents. They’re profoundly radical people as pipeline opponents go, although we’re seeing more and more such tactics employed as this desperate and self-righteous ideological movement loses ground in stopping important projects.

The industry is gradually awakening to their threat, thank goodness, and is finally playing hardball after too many years of trying to make pipeline opponents go away with mushy news releases nobody reads. This hardball, of course, has to accompanied by extensive, thorough and very real community participation efforts during project planning, but once decisions are made and permits granted, there is no room for complacency or kid gloves. Take these dangerous extremists into court and ask for serious jail time. That’s the remedy. 

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9 thoughts on “Extremist Pipeline Opponents Want Mob Justice by Petition

  1. Eco-Terrorists who willingly trepass and vandalize/put other lives at risk should be considered at the very least as enemy combatants and disposed of as so. These are not people who wish to compromise whatsoever.

  2. Such acts by these so called environmentalists, risk creating significant environmental damage and even injury or death to themselves or innocent others.

    They should not be shown any leniency.

  3. It is sad, we are seeing environmentalist break laws to reach their goals. The ends does not justify the means. We are also seeing regulation not by rule of law but by petition and “sue and settle”. Very sad. Both result in the lack of due process and will ultimately end in Mob rule. On the other side, we do see crony capitalism and we are seeing “takings” on both sides to meet their goals – All very sad.

  4. A different perspective.
    ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.
    My website is
    “Human Caused Global Warming”, ‘The Biggest Deception in History’.
    Awaiting court decision in Dr Andrew Weaver vs Dr Tim Ball in Supreme Court, in Vancouver, BC

  5. I see an easy nexus between what McKibben, a truly demented pied piper, drums into his 360 sycophants, their actions, the damages, the political defenses and the funneling of large sums of money across state lines. The unbelievable admissions of guilt should be elevated to Federal RICO criminal charges and jurisdiction. After that, then charge the individuals, most definitely include as top of the list senior manipulator, McKibben for civil damages. Sometimes minor changes in the law make huge social adaptation issues and using the public square to exact consequences for insane juvenile, selfish acts of stupid, petulant child like tantrums, or political action demands, will let out all he wind of their sails for a while. 3 squares and a cot for a few years will do it for most adults.

    • In reality there’s a clear connection between the valve turners as they are called, tim de christopher and Al gores daughter. In reality there’s a clear connection between the antifracking movement and the valve turners since the producer of josh fox latest movie was arrested at one of the pipeline break ins. In reality there’s a connection between the valve turners and Jamie henn of 350org who immediately tweeted about their actions.

      In reality there’s a connection between the young woman who had part of her arm blown off in north daktoa over the dakota pipeline and karenna Gore and Tim decrhristopher. They all got arrested together last summer in the construction ditch of a natural gas pipeline. Also present was Dave publow who was arrested during construction of the Spectra pipe expansion into NYC in 2012 and who set up a list serve I was on about the Rockaway pipeline.

  6. https://mobile.twitter.com/350/status/936623897151188992

    Is there a clear link between bill mckibben, 350 org and the antifracking pipeline resistance movement? Of course. Doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. But somehow reporters who have covered all of this, fracking opposition, mutliple pipeline opposition, the protests, the arrests , disruptions at the drbc, the pa task force, at ferc etc don’t know who the people are they are covering?

    By the way I have contacted plenty of reporters about non facts and even a full blown conspriacy theory on a proposed lng import project cooked up by fractivists and their allies and guess what? Reporters and editors refuse to make corrections, retract or do any investigating or follow up. Thats a gigantic problem. Who else contacts the news people? Has anyone else had a similar experience? This is a complete failure in the journalism field.

  7. Companies in the recently announced API initiative have agreed to seek out and repair methane leaks at tens of thousands of sites located in every major U.S. gas and oil basin, with detection required at least once every two years. That is less frequent than the twice-annual timetable the Interior Department imposed under a regulation last year, and the standard in some states.
    Pneumatic controllers

    The companies also are committing to phase out high-bleed pneumatic controllers that release gas as part of their normal operation. Analysts say it’s one of the most cost-effective emission control technologies industry can employ, with replacement devices potentially paying for themselves after just six months — one reason some 25,000 have already been swapped out across the U.S.

    See my past publication discussing CH4 emission control

    Goodwin, R.W.; “Environmental Perspective Update: Hydraulic Fracturing”; Pollution Engineering; Oct.2014, pgs. 34-38
    The private sector is beginning to implement recycling of flow-back water to (1) save time [fast-track state regulatory permits] and (2) reduce operating costs [avoid deep well disposal]
    Avoiding deep well disposal of flow-back waters reduces potential for localized earthquakes
    Control of Methane Emissions does not pose a significant cost to future wells and/or piping systems
    Recycling of flow-back waters minimizes potential for litigation from local residents and environmental groups


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