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Update on the Four Necessity Valve Turners

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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