On Thursday, the Four Necessity Valve Turners were found guilty of aiding and abetting criminal damage to property under $500. They were sentenced to a $75 fine and a stayed sentence of 15 days (minus time already served) that they will only serve if they violate the terms of probation, which are to remain lawful and avoid all contact with Enbridge and its property. Their action of February 4, 2019, was in defense of water and to serve Indigenous justice and climate justice.
The necessity defense was denied both in the pretrial and during the formulation of final instructions to the jurors -- the point cited by the judge on Thursday was imminence. The Necessity Defense in Minnesota requires that the harm done be less than the impending harm, that all other lawful possibilities be exhausted, that the harm be imminent, and that there is a direct causal relationship between the otherwise unlawful action taken and the impending harm. It seems that spending months evaluating and discarding all other ways to address this harm signals, to the court at least, that climate change is not imminent. In his pre-sentencing statement, Daniel lamented that the court did not value science and speculated that by the time the damage of climate change met the court's definition of imminence, it would be far too late to do anything to reduce the harm.
We have one last ask for you, as we close out this avenue of advocacy:
The night before their trial began, Jason Goward of the Fond du Lac Ojibwe nation prayed over the four, and told his story of quitting his work on Enbridge Line 3. Because he refuses to work for the pipeline and this deadly fossil fuel industry, Jason is currently over $20,000 in debt to unemployment. If you would like to send Jason money to help with his situation, and to thank him for taking a risk for justice, you can do so via paypal.com, using his email, Jasongoward@yahoo.com.