News & Updates

Allyson Polman examines the Line 4 block valve

Today the Four Necessity Valve Turners entered Enbridge Energy Corporation’s valve site at approximately mile marker 195 on Route 2 near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. They streamed approximately an hour of live video as they hung a banner, cut a lock on a manual block valve for Line 4, read a statement and placed sacred items while praying and singing spiritual songs.

Shortly after their entrance to the yard, and before manually turning the valve, the Four Necessity Valve Turners tipped off Enbridge as to their intentions to ensure that no harm would come from their action. The manual block valves the Four Necessity Valve Turners attempted to turn are emergency shut off valves for pipelines 3 and 4. As such, they are designed and intended to be a safe system to shut off the flow of oil.

While The Four Necessity Valve Turners worked, at least two police vehicles drove down the road sounding their sirens, however they did not arrive on site and thus were apparently driving to a different location. Approximately fifteen minutes after the call was made to Enbridge the remote shut off valves closed, stopping the flow of oil through Line 4. The Valve Turners then proceeded to assess the Line 3 block valve.

Before, during and after examining the Line 3 valve, the Four Necessity Valve Turners prayed, sang, asked for the prayers of viewers, and spoke of the need for this action to ensure the safety of all in this time of climate change. Their banner, which read, “The time is now for unprecedented and urgent action” quoted the recent U.N. Special Report On Climate Change (we recommend the summary report for policy makers), noting that if the temperature rises just 1.5 degrees the earth will reach a global tipping point that will widely and negatively impact life on earth.

The police did arrive on site, and asked if threats to the Four Necessity Valve Turners would induce them to share their bolt cutters to shorten the wait time otherwise required for a bolt cutter to be brought to the site, as the first officers did not bring such a tool along. When the officers attempted to climb the barbed wire fence, the Valve Turners handed over their bolt cutters so that harm would not come to the police officers on their behalf.

The Four Necessity Valve Turners are now in the Itasca County Jail, awaiting arraignment on Wednesday morning. Two misdemeanor charges - one for trespassing and one for property destruction - are anticipated. Additional charges may be forthcoming.

It should be noted that each of the Four Necessity Valve Turners signed a document taking “personal responsibility” for the damage caused by climate change. They also take responsibility for their actions, filming and making them public on this website and through Facebook so that they will be justly tried.

Several news outlets have run stories on the Valve Turners, including The Star Tribune, The Duluth News Tribune, Common Dreams, and MPR.

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The Four Necessity Valve Turners

Press Contact:

Diane Leutgeb Munson

+1 (218) 565-3660


Twitter: @4necessity

Instagram: @4necessity


#4necessity #ValveTurners #ActOnClimate

Press Release

Today, four Catholic Workers took necessary, non-violent action to address the climate crisis by turning off the valves of Enbridge Energy oil pipelines.

This group, known as The Four Necessity Valve Turners closed pipeline valves in Northern Minnesota, citing the imminent and irreversible damage being done to the climate. The group acts in solidarity with the most vulnerable worldwide who suffer the greatest impact from climate change. The Four Necessity Valve Turners believe it is time to take personal responsibility for preventing the dangerous expansion of the oil industry, because governments and regulators have failed to do so.

According to a statement released this morning, the Four Necessity Valve Turners “each feel personally called to step into responsibility by standing in the way of this deadly fossil fuel industry” because the climate crisis is already underway and observable.

Informed by their faith, their work with the marginalized, and their lives as farmers, the Four Necessity Valve Turners hope to protect a livable future. In their own words:

“I believe every life is sacred. This is an act of grief for the state of violence the world is in. This is an act of celebration for the beauty of the earth.” (Allyson Polman)

“This act is step towards reparations for the damage that colonization has done both to the indigenous peoples of this continent and the land.” (Brenna Cussen Anglada)

“This small act of healing our earth is riding on the wings of all the ancestors, angels, saints, and cloud of witnesses who will continue these efforts by changing hearts and minds allow for sustainable, livable, and just technologies for good of all.” (Michele Naar Obed)

“The extraction of the tar sands oil flowing through these pipes represents an ongoing atrocity against the boreal forests of Canada. I refuse to stand by in silence as this river of death flows through the Great Lakes region.” (Daniel Yildirim)

Media inquiries should be directed to Diane Leutgeb Munson at the information provided above. The Four Necessity Valve Turners’ Statement of Purpose and Intent is available at our about page.

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“Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”

-This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein

“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.”

-Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

"But, as readers of fairy tales know, magic can run out. Three fundamental challenges to the fixation on growth have emerged. One is political: growth, as least as we now create it, is creating more inequality than prosperity, more insecurity than progress. By contrast, the second argument draws on physics and chemistry as much as on economics; it is the basic objection that we do not have the energy needed to keep the magic going, and can we deal with the pollution it creates? The third argument is both less obvious and even more basic: growth is no longer making us happy. These three objections mesh with each other in important ways; taken together, they suggest that we’ll no longer be able to act wisely, either in our individual lives or in public life, simply by asking which choice will produce more."

-Deep Economy by Bill McKibben

""It is clear that the “rich” are in the process of stripping the world of its once-for-all endowment of relatively cheap and simple fuels. It is their continuing economic growth which produces ever more exorbitant demands, with the result that the world’s cheap and simple fuels could easily become dear and scare long before the poor countries had acquired the wealth, education, industrial sophistication, and power of capital accumulation needed for the application of alternative fuels on any significant scale."

-Small is Beautiful: Economics as as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher

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