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Victory for 'Valve Turners' as Judge Allows 'Necessity Defense' for Climate Trial


Victory for 'Valve Turners' as Judge Allows 'Necessity Defense' for Climate Trial

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

"The whole planet will be inside a single courtroom the day this trial begins," says Bill McKibben. "It's a rare chance to explain precisely why we need to act, and act now."

Climate activists Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein


This is good news. The people will need to increasingly take things into our own hands if we are to avoid the worst of climate change. I really believe we are too late, but we still have to try even if we have to break the law.


Have this image of each person attending the trial holding cellphones with cameras and faces of folks on the other end and the cameras transmitting. Minnesota feels so distant on such an essential adjudication. Everyone should be fully aware of the proceedings and that goal aided by the powers of governance.


Maybe, just maybe 2 wrongs will make a right?


well, don’t pity the poor corporation too much. What they are doing in building and running pipelines, although “legal” is just flat out wrong in the face of climate change; which is no longer " coming" it is here , now.


Laws that support the destruction of our Sacred Mother Earth are laws that MUST be broken/changed!


So what the corp did was wrong and what the valve turners did was wrong but the Judge has a chance to make it right…see?


Many deniers & antagonists of the AGW model cite their personal religious beliefs (e.g., “God” wouldn’t play such a dicey trick on Humanity, etc.) as the only proof that’s needed to justify their faith-based insistence that the rest of us should therefore do nothing about limiting human generated greenhouse gases.

Other, only slightly less irrational, deniers try to cite dissenting scientific data from a provably tiny minority anti-AGW scientists (most of whom are provably in the pay of fossil fuel industries), to justify their political position that, 'since the enormously complex dynamics of Earth’s overall climate model are necessarily so-imprecise, at this stage of human knowledge, we humans [therefore] simply don’t know enough yet, to say or do anything corrective on our own with any ‘scientific certainty,’ about the role of human causation, etc.

I hope that this Minnesota court case, which will finally allow formal, scientific EVIDENCE-BASED testimony about the AGW question – within a legally empowered, adjudicatory setting – will receive wide publicity & public attention.
While we don’t really need to show-up the all-too-obvious magical thinking absurdities of the religion-based AGW deniers, it IS important that the deniers who also claim relevant scientific credentials on the question, are revealed for what they, in large part are: viz, not legitimate, science-based doubters of the AGW model, but instead paid and/or politically-motivated “cigarette scientists,” who know damn well that science is never about ‘absolute certainty,’ but is instead an empirically-verifiable-to-date, honest consensus about the nature, & predictability of physical reality, as we humans best understand it.
Of course, it’s always hypothetically possible that the current scientific consensus about the reality of AGW is as wrong, now, as the pre-Copernican astronomy was about the geocentric model of Earth’s solar system, centuries ago; but such an alalogous claim is, today, not only distinctly less probably accurate, as-any kind of credible-analogy, it also borders on an unprecedentedly-fatal, arguably suicidal, gamble for any scientist, today, to even intellectually advocate, ala the risk of {therefore]“doing nothing,” in the face of so much validating AGW evidence, and, a-fortiori, because of the likely-catastrophic human consequences if that minority of {even legitimately-intended} scientists are wrong. <><>


The idea of a necessity defense is that if you do something quite specifically for a socially good reason, it’s not a wrong. The classic example is when somebody takes her neighbor’s garden hose without permission in order to put out a house fire. Because it’s the socially right thing to do, it’s not stealing.

The idea of social good is furthermore incorporated into every law that requires proof of criminal intent. If someone’s intent is clearly to serve the common good, that’s a long ways from criminal intent.

There was a famous English criminal case to which a statue was raised, William Penn vs. the Crown. William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was charged by an English court with “tumultuous and riotous assembly”. Penn had been perfectly still in the public square, worshiping with other English Quakers. The jury came back with the verdict that Penn was guilty of assembly, but the tumultuous and riotous part wasn’t true. Thereupon the judge threw the whole jury themselves in jail “without beer” until he could torture a guilty verdict out of them. A higher court said that a judge had no right to torture a jury, although no decision was made about the hateful judge lying his head off to the jury about what the law said and browbeating the jury, telling them what they “must” say. That chicanery is still pretty legal today.

One more set of defenses: the U.S. Constitution says that every treaty duly ratified by 2/3 of the U.S. Senate and signed by the President is the law of the land, equally with legislation passed by both houses, and that all federal and state judges must treat treaties as law. This said, a bunch of U.S. judges just don’t personally care for U.S. treaties, especially the treaties about the U.S. military or U.S. official police forces not torturing, injuring or killing civilians. However, you are within your legal rights to demand that these laws be upheld equally in every country that signed on to certain Geneva accords, and that includes the USA. Judges in any signatory country can legally take a vacationing policeman or CIA agent, imprison her and then ship her to the World Court at the Hague, Netherlands, where she can be tried for war crimes and possibly jailed for a good stretch. Citizens are required to uphold this law!


Finally, a judge with some common sense about science and people’s rights.


Generally recording devices are not allowed in courtrooms …


What the valve turners did was right …


I really don’t see how this defense would work in any real court case against a oil and gas company. Just as protestors can claim it is a necessity to protect humanity from the concerns of climate change, any oil and gas company has just as equal of a claim to suggest that is a necessity to supply the world of energy, because without their energy product developed society would literally fall apart. The only reason developed countries exist today is due to industrialized advancements provided by fossil fuels. This is not an opinion- its a historical fact.

The real defense is that “I should be allowed to destroy property of those who cause pollution, because pollution creates negative externalities on society.” However, if this becomes a legitament defense that would/ should open the door to allow the attacking of any energy company as all energy sources generate pollution and create some amount of negative externalities on society.


What you fail to recognize is that acts such as this actually escalate issues, as this action could result in backflow in the pipeline and increase pressure resulting in a rupture and causing environmental damage.


you missed the whole point of what I was saying…this ain’t rocket science…to each other they both saw themselves as being in the wrong…the judge gets the change to make it right…2 wrongs make a right, get it?


When industry regards no ‘precautionary principal’ and thwarts every legal containment of ethics or morals, then all bets are off, period, paragraph…The ball is in OUR COURT…They can take their ‘nose in the air’ attitude and shove it where the sun don’t shine
OH and PS: Great job, VALVE TURNERS!


The damage created by the oil companies already is far more than turning a valve off. What is a valve for other than to restrict pressure? If their pipes can’t hold that pressure, they’re lacking in oversight of their own projects and should be cited for their crappy equipment. These companies have played rough shod over the ‘commons’ for much too long and haven’t paid us a goddamn cent for our compliance. PHK’Em!


Its simply astonishing to see someone so consumed of by hatred of energy to deny the vast benefits of oil and gas, and only see damages. Regardless of project, you always use materials that are made for the project. The pipes are made to withstand excess pressure, but the pipeline was not designed to constantly stop and then start up again. By turning on emergency valves it increases the likelihood of a disaster, especially considering the fact that none of the defendants were knowledgeable of the equipment used on the line, the specifications of the pipeline or licensed to terminate the project under safety. They simply turned off the line, because they wanted to. That’s extremely dangerous for people who are ignorant of their surroundings to commit action that they do not fully understand.

This is true in nearly every profession. In construction the fences are not only for security, but safety to protect people from going onto sites and hurting themselves.


Oil has ruined our environment and if we don’t stop using most of it our grandchildren will have ‘hatred’ of us. No precautions were EVER used to transport oil safely. All transport modes leak and no leaks are ever cleaned up properly because you can’t. If I spill a few quarts of oil and don’t clean it up, I could easily end up paying thousands for someone else to clean it and then still pay fines or get jail time. This world has become filthy because of oil and it’s byproducts and it needs to end. I’m tired of the unjustified excuses for continuing to pollute the ‘commons’ and these companies should be criminally charged and real folks should go to jail. There is also no regulations as to what they can charge and when gas goes up in price so does everything else. Also when the price falls, all the products that went up in price for the gas rising, never come back down…Those are some of the ‘vast benefits’.


My first thought when looking at this is how depraved the “Founding Fathers” really were on some level. Specifically, ingraining the absolute worship of private property that probably no other nation on earth has so strong in its pathology.
Now those people have felonies for doing the right thing. This country is far from blessed spiritually. That’s in part why we finally got a Donald Trump, To show to us karmically just how depraved our trip has been over history. Now, like in ancient history, the god Saturn is preparing to consume it’s young. THAT’S what climate change is all about for us…