Description: Prosecution of "valve turner" activists who entered an Enbridge pipeline valve site and turned valves on a pipeline.
State v. Yildirim
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/08/2021 Verdict Defendants found guilty of aiding and abetting fourth degree criminal damage to property. “Valve Turner” Defendants Convicted of Aiding and Abetting Criminal Damage to Property. On July 8, 2021, a jury in Minnesota state court found four activists guilty of aiding and abetting fourth degree criminal damage to property, a misdemeanor offense. The defendants were arrested in February 2019 after they entered an Enbridge pipeline valve site and turned valves on a pipeline. The defendants were sentenced to 15 days in jail, with credit for time served, and to pay fees and fines of $75. The court also ordered a one-year probation term and directed them not to enter any Enbridge property or facility. The Climate Defense Project’s Climate Necessity Defense Case Guide indicates that in August 2019 the court granted in part the State’s motion to exclude evidence for a necessity defense, finding that the “Four Necessity Valve Turners” had legal alternatives and failed to show that climate change harms were imminent; the court found, however, that the defendants presented sufficient evidence of a direct causal connection between violating the law and preventing harm. The Case Guide reports that the court excluded expert testimony but allowed a limited necessity defense.