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Judge Drops Charges Against 13 Who Argued Pipeline Civil Disobedience Action Was "Necessary" to Save Planet

Judge Drops Charges Against 13 Who Argued Pipeline Civil Disobedience Action Was "Necessary" to Save Planet

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Climate activists are cheering after a district judge in Boston on Tuesday ruled that 13 fossil fuel pipeline protesters were not responsible for any infraction because of the necessity of their actions.

Bill McKibben, who was slated to be an expert witness in their case, tweeted a celebratory "Good golly!' in response to the ruling, adding, "This may be a first in America. "


Now, we need to start to have similar rulings by judges in the Rocky Mountain states, the Great Plains, etc. The West is where much of the action is, and some of the judges are total asshole reactionaries on these type of cases. People are getting felonies for stuff like this, and it messes up their lives. Thankfully these folks walked. Most don’t. The Unites States is INSANE over these types of crimes, it is one of the things, other than say, Trump, we can show to the world to display our collective mental illness that’s been a part of the “American property fetish” since the first theft and rape of the natives.


The principled protesters against the “AIM” high-pressure gas pipeline running thru the Indian Point nuclear facility in NY should also have their charges dropped - be exonerated! At the very least this is a legal precedent the Cortlandt, NY judge must/should consider, and protesters still facing trial should use in their legal defense!

"Defying the law to halt the Algonquin pipeline expansion was necessary for public safety, according to nine people who face criminal charges for their efforts to stop the project.

“The group, calling itself “the Montrose Nine” have pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct charges for allegedly disrupting traffic”. ENOUGH! FREE THEM ALL NOW!


Indeed. Note that the necessity defense was rejected in the case of Michael Foster, who cut through a fence and closed a shut-off valve on the Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota back in 2016.


It’s really disturbing. There was a guy who was an Oregon State Worker (can’t remember his name) who was recently appealing a ten years sentence for a similar act.
I don’t think in this day and age your “average American” fat blob consumer in SUV" can even comprehend any of this. Because of the consumerist culture backed up by cops, etc. most of the people in the country are dead to all of this.
It’s a lot worse than anything I could have thought of back when I was 14 in 72 and the environmental movement was taking off. A huge portion of the nation has just gotten exponentially worse in their gluttony, beyond what I grew up with in the 60’s. The contrast is so striking, and quite angering to me. What a wretched path the country has taken…



Judge Driscoll has ruled in favor of the people and the environment, expect her to be removed from the bench in the future.


Well said! Me too!


Yeah a pipeline engineer, unlike you, would have known all systems are protected against water (oil) hammer.


Utter nonsense.

The US economy and society use far, Far, FAR MORE ENERGY than is necessary for the health and welfare of all. MASSIVE waste and “junk production” throughout the economy. Plain fact is, we can indeed immediately “stop production” on vast quantities of useless junk without “substituting the product,” and suffer not at all. Only benefit.

And the ecological crisis these heroes are responding to goes WAY BEYOND any risk from disrupting the industrial economy. Watch the ecology collapse – which, in case you are so blind or blinkered that you do not know, is ALREADY UNDERWAY. As one example, animal wildlife today is literally LESS THAN HALF, WORLDWIDE, compared to what it was when i was born. THAT is true necessity.


Ignorance is bliss, right up to the end. We are the same age, as I turned 15 in '72. I was already active in anti-war marches and attended the first Earth Day. By the time we finished high school, Nixon was disgraced, the war was “over,” and the EPA was established. Enforcement of civil rights seemed to be waxing. It felt like the kind of progress that justified progressivism (and locked mine in). By 1980, the neoliberal tide had turned, and by '84 it was ascendant and inevitable. My career in environmental science made little real difference, although we did clean up some stuff and I felt it was “good work.” Fast-forward 30-plus years of drug wars, foreign wars, globalized capital trumping the regulation of its excesses and answerable to no one, and I just feel disappointed and pissed off most of the time. I take some encouragement from the decision that is the subject of this thread, and from the March for Our Lives, but I’m far from optimistic, not given what I feel is yet to come.

Alas, forgive the rant.


This aptly named “American property fetish” needs serious inspection, I’ve always thought. It links together ecologicalviolence, xenophobia, class stratification, alienation and the pandemic of psychological isolation.


yes, but should we need to thank a judge for doing her/his job fairly and with honesty? of course, when so many fail the people, those who act as they should are the exception to the rule.

sad that


YEOWEEEE!! Morality wins! Banksters slither.


Oh yes, we’ve seen this many times, the logical fallacy of reductio ad absurdum. Your argument is fallacious.

There’s plenty of already available carbon resources to carry us through any transition to a carbon-free economy. At this point, all fossil fuels not already tapped need to be left in the ground.


You are also getting felonies like the one that happened to a woman I knew who simply stepped over a painted line onto Vandenberg Air Base here in California during a peaceful anti-missile march. You are giving people far too much credit. Most (except for engineers) don’t even THINK that detailed about the issue. There are two ways to look at it-what you presented, which sounds just a bit like an apology. And another, which is closer to traditional American legal reactionary thinking.
Try and look at it this way–a guy robs a bank and absconds millions. Is caught. His life (legally and otherwise is ruined). Same man pleads mental illness for physically injuring his wife or kids–may just get a misdemeanor.

I don’t like your logic, it’s far too mechanistic and that’s not how the American legal system works. Sometimes it does, but generally not. It’s much more politicized. As to malice. I don’t think you are even correctly applying the word. I have a legal assistant certificate that I earned from UCLA Law years ago. I can completely envision someone turning that pipeline off and having zero malice. Think about it.

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LOL at this irony. That was the point of these 13 people I believe. By turning off the pipeline, they decreased the potential harm to the planet writ large.

I’m pretty sure that “preconceived malice” is not an element of the crimes charged here, which were trespassing and disturbing the peace – that (premeditation) is pretty much limited to first degree murder (though the term there is “premeditation”, not “preconceived malice”), although malice (no preconception required) is an element of some crimes like some degrees of arson.

Turns out, necessity is a valid a defense in this case, though.


SUCH refreshing news! Justice and sanity in these times are like a breath of fresh air.


Really good, precedent supporting decision in the long battle. Soon we’ll also need to stop the pipelines. Looking for a tipping point asap. Great work from those who stood up and those who supported them.

Can we continue the momentum with the ACP?


Civic intent is different from criminal intent. The protestors didn’t do their action to enrich their own pockets, nor for fame. Their decision was well thought out. They went into civil disobedience knowing that they each could suffer and not gain personally, although their world could gain overall. So, by law, criminal intent was never shown and therefore the charge must be dropped.

Really, the judge was only doing her job. Thanks anyways.