Pipeline activists charged with felonies in Minn.
BAGLEY, Minn. — Two activists who tampered with Enbridge pipeline valves in solidarity with Dakota Access Pipeline opponents have been charged with felonies in Minnesota's Clearwater County.
Emily Johnston, 50, Seattle, and Annette Marie Klapstein, 64, Bainbridge Island, Wash., were each charged Wednesday, Oct. 12, with two felony counts related to criminal damage to property of critical public utilities and two gross misdemeanor charges of trespassing.
The women were part of a group called Climate Direct Action that said they were signaling their support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe when they tampered with emergency valves of five pipelines that carry Canadian crude into the United States.
Johnson and Klapstein are accused of threatening to shut down two Enbridge pipelines and using bolt cutters to cut padlocks and chains to access the pipeline valves at a facility near Leonard, southeast of Clearbrook, according to court records.
Enbridge spokeswoman Lorraine Little said officials temporarily shut down the pipelines as a precaution but the company was not expecting impacts to customer deliveries.
Criminal charges are also expected to be filed Wednesday in North Dakota after activists similarly tampered with a valve station for TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline near Walhalla. The pipeline was inactive for more than seven hours, said Pembina County State's Attorney Ryan Bialas.
A spokeswoman for the activist group said a total of 10 were arrested, including other arrests in Montana and Washington state. The group said they were targeting pipelines that deliver tar sands oil from Alberta into the U.S. and calling on President Obama to avert a "climate catastrophe."
The group also opposes the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe fears will threaten their water supply and sacred sites.