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The five climate activists that shut down tar sands pipelines Tuesday include: (L-R) Emily Johnson, Annette Klapstein, Leonard Higgins, Michael Foster and Ken Ward. (Photo: Shut It Down)

Ten Activists Arrested for Helping Shut Down US-Canada Tar Sands Pipelines

'My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life,' said one of those arrested, 50-year-old Emily Johnston

Deirdre Fulton

Ten activists have been arrested for shutting down five tar sands pipelines in four states on Tuesday, an act of non-violent direct action taken to avert climate catastrophe and in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock. 

According to Climate Direct Action, the group coordinating the shut-down, not only were the five activists who manually turned off the pipelines taken into custody, but also five support team members and videographers.

In Anacortes, Washington, authorities arrested Ken Ward for turning the wheel on an emergency shut-off valve for a Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as documentarians Lindsay Grizzel and Carl David. According to the local NBC affiliate, the Skagit County Sheriff's office charged them with burglary and criminal sabotage.

Michael Foster, Sam Jessup, and documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg were arrested in North Dakota for shutting down Transcanada's Keystone pipeline; and Leonard Higgins was taken into custody in Montana after tampering with the valve on a Spectra line. Reed Ingalls was also detained for questioning in Montana.

Meanwhile, Climate Direct Action reported on Facebook that Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, who turned off the valves on Enbridge lines 4 and 67 in Leonard, Minnesota, had appeared in court Wednesday morning and would be held at Clearwater County Jail until they reached bail—a combined $15,000.

To the participants in Tuesday's shut-down, the consequences are worth it. As Johnston said ahead of the action: "For years we've tried the legal, incremental, reasonable methods, and they haven't been enough; without a radical shift in our relationship to Earth, all that we love will disappear. My fear of that possibility is far greater than my fear of jail. My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life."

Indeed, filmmaker Josh Fox—whose colleague, Schlosberg, was one of those arrested in North Dakota—declared on Twitter:

The Climate Disobedience Action Fund, which supported Tuesday's "unprecedented" action, is raising funds for the activists' legal fees.

Updates continue to be posted on the Climate Direct Action Facebook page as well as on Twitter under the hashtag #ShutItDown.


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