The small town of Bagley, Minnesota, looked set to be the scene for one of the nation’s most interesting airings of the climate controversy last week. Three people went on trial there on Monday for shutting down a pipeline from Canada’s tar sands in 2016 — one of them, after warning the company, turned the valve that shut the pipe, and then they waited for the police to arrive. They were arrested and charged with felony destruction of public property.
The judge had originally signaled that they would be allowed to mount a full “necessity defense,” and argue that climate change presented such a severe threat that they had little choice but to break the law. On Friday, however, he decided not to allow the team of expert witnesses — including me — to testify about the main points at issue: the danger of global warming, the lack of alternatives to civil disobedience and the effectiveness of direct action. Then on Tuesday, after a jury had been selected, the judge dismissed the case, announcing that the activists’ actions didn’t meet the seriousness of the charges. (Read more)
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