skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, May 24, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

FGCU launches free workshops to foster equity, retain workers; Supreme Court throws out race claim in SC redistricting case in win for GOP; as millions hit the roads, MI lawmakers consider extra driving fees; CT groups prepare for World Fish Migration Day.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Activist Who Shut Down Pipeline on Trial: "Act of Desperation" to Save Planet

play audio
Play

Wednesday, November 22, 2017   

FORT BENTON, Mont. – In October 2016, Leonard Higgins and four other activists concerned about the imminent impact of climate change took action into their own hands to stop it.

Known collectively as the "valve turners," the five climate activists shut off oil pipeline emergency valves across the country, stopping about 15 percent of the country's oil imports for nearly a day.

Higgins, who turned the valve in Coal Banks Landing, began his trial in Fort Benton this week.

His calm demeanor betrays the fact that he faces up 10 years in prison on felony charges of criminal trespass and mischief.

Above all else, what's clear is Higgins' dedication to stopping climate change.

"For myself, this is an act of desperation,” he states. “I'm not the kind of person that you would have ever thought would take civil disobedient, direct action.

“I'd never had any trouble with the law or courts. I worked for the state of Oregon for 31 years."

Higgins shut off Spectra Energy Express' pipeline importing tar sands, which he calls the dirtiest carbon emitter.

The other activists shut down tar sand pipelines in Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington state.

Spectra Energy says closing the emergency valve on a pipeline is dangerous.

But Higgins says the team planned for months and informed the companies what they were doing, and so no oil was pumping when they shut the lines down.

Higgins stresses the importance of reducing carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.

He wants people to be as active and passionate about this issue as they would be if their "child had cancer," because he wants his children and grandchildren to enjoy this planet. He hopes the valve turners' actions will drive change.

"Like other civil disobedient acts in the past around abolition or around women's suffrage, civil rights, might have some chance to move this issue into the public discussion, change public opinion, and move public policy as quickly as it needs to happen," he states.

Despite his feeling that the public is not directly engaged enough on this issue, Higgins is encouraged by efforts to modernize the power grid and agriculture and thinks the country is ready to move in a new and cleaner direction.

"I'm inspired by all of the work that's being done to make the changes that we need to,” he says. “Obviously, our technology in terms of wind energy and solar energy have moved at the same rate that the advancements in computers did."





get more stories like this via email

more stories
The latest Living Planet Index report finds freshwater migratory fish saw an average 81% collapse in monitored population sizes between 1970 and 2020. This includes massive declines in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Groups in Connecticut are preparing to celebrate World Fish Migration Day on Friday. The biennial event celebrates migratory fish species and their …


Social Issues

play sound

Fewer than 8% of people in Alabama prisons are granted parole when they apply for it. Criminal justice experts got together for a discussion of how …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report is sounding the alarm on Pennsylvania's juvenile-detention capacity challenges, citing understaffing and long wait times for the young …


During Latino Advocacy Week, Hispanic Access Foundation members met with lawmakers to promote equity in the upcoming Farm Bill. (Evelyn Ramirez/Hispanic Access Foundation)

Environment

play sound

It's Latino Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C., and leaders in the Hispanic community are pushing for improvements in the upcoming Farm Bill. The …

Environment

play sound

As Michiganders hit the road this holiday weekend, state lawmakers are brainstorming ways to help close the state's $3.9 billion road funding gap…

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy says a law change, which includes updating the state's public waters list, could provide protections for at least 640 miles of additional waterways across the state. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

What might seem like an under-the-radar administrative task could end up being a lifesaver for Minnesota waterways in need of safeguards against agric…

Social Issues

play sound

Two years ago today, a teenager killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The families of those shot and killed have …

Social Issues

play sound

Amid nationwide labor shortages and high turnover, employment experts say fostering an equitable workplace is key to finding and retaining workers…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021