Three activists whose landmark trial is set to begin in Minnesota state court on Monday for their 2016 multi-state #ShutItDown action—which temporarily disabled all tar sands pipelines crossing the U.S.-Canada border—will argue the action was necessary because of the threat that fossil fuels pose to the planet.\u0022We cannot work through our political system, because its values are nothing but profit... We live in an oligarchy, not a democracy.\u0022—Annette Klapstein, valve turnerRejecting a challenge from state prosecutors in April, an appeals court ruled that the \u0022valve turners\u0022 can present a \u0022necessity defense\u0022—and bring in top climate experts to testify. In July, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied prosecutors\u0026#039; petition to appeal that ruling.The necessity defense \u0022is a plea that, yes technically we committed a crime, but we did it to prevent a greater harm,\u0022 explained Annette Klapstein, a retired attorney from the Seattle area and one of the valve turners on trial.\u0022We cannot work through our political system, because its values are nothing but profit,\u0022 she told The Nation. \u0022We live in an oligarchy, not a democracy.\u0022\u0022It\u0026#039;s very much in the interest of the capitalist political system to make us feel powerless, to make us feel that we can\u0026#039;t do anything,\u0022 she added, but \u0022ultimately, they cannot win if we do not consent. If we really withdraw our consent, if we really go out there and sit down in front of the machine, eventually they can no longer operate it. And at this point, that is our only option.\u0022Klapstein and Emily Nesbitt Johnston are facing felony charges under Minnesota law for shutting down Enbridge Energy\u0026#039;s Line 4 and Line 67. While Benjamin Joldersma, who assisted them, also faces charges in the case, the state has dropped trespassing charges against videographer Steve Liptay.The Nation reports that Princeton political scientist Martin Gilens and Harvard Law School\u0026#039;s Lawrence Lessig are among the expert witnesses slated to testify. Dr. James Hansen, a former NASA scientist who has been called \u0022the father of modern climate change awareness,\u0022 and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben will also testify in case, according to the activist group Climate Direct Action.\u0022These people deserve our respect and support,\u0022 McKibben said on Twitter about the valve turners in Minnesota on Friday.This will be the first of the valve turner cases where those on trial can present a necessity defense, as judges in three states have barred fellow activists from doing so. In Washington, Ken Ward was found guilty of second degree burglary after his first trial ended with a hung jury. The judge used a \u0022first-time offender waiver\u0022 to sentence him to two days in jail, which was fulfilled by time in custody after he was arrested for the 2016 action.In North Dakota, Michael Foster was convicted of two felonies and a misdemeanor, and sentenced to three years in prison, though he only served six months and was released in August. Sam Jessup, who livestreamed Foster\u0026#039;s action, was convicted of a felony and a misdemeanor, and received a two-year deferred sentence with supervised probation. In Montana, Leonard Higgins was found guilty of a felony and misdemeanor. He received a three-year deferred sentence.The second paragraph of this post has been updated to reflect that the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling was in July of 2018.