Apr 23, 2018 | By: Sarah Winkelmann

Appeals Court Allows Necessity Defense In Pipeline Protest

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals says four protesters can use an unusual “necessity defense” against criminal charges related to efforts to shut down two Enbridge Energy oil pipelines.

The protesters admit that they turned the emergency shut-off valves on two pipelines in 2016 in Clearwater County of northwestern Minnesota as part of a multi-state protest. They want to tell jurors that the threat of climate change from Canadian tar sands crude is so imminent that they were justified.

A three-judge appeals panel ruled 2-1 Monday that the prosecutor has failed to show that allowing the necessity defense would have a critical impact on the trial’s outcome.

Trial dates have not been set.

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