MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has abruptly dismissed charges against three climate change activists on trial for trying to shut down two Enbridge Energy oil pipelines.
Clearwater County District Judge Robert Tiffany ruled Tuesday that the state failed to prove any damage. He threw out the case after the prosecution rested and before the protesters could present their case to the jury.
Two of the Seattle-area defendants admitted that they turned the emergency shut-off valves on two pipelines in northwestern Minnesota in 2016. It was part of a coordinated protest in four states. They were charged with felonies.
The two women and a third defendant had planned to use a “necessity defense” by arguing that the threat of climate change from Canadian tar sands crude oil was so imminent that their actions were not only morally right, but necessary.