Judge tosses out ‘defense of planet’ in climate activist’s trial

Northwest activists arrested after sabotaging oil pipelines

A Washington-state judge has left climate activists steaming after he ruled the ‘necessity defense’ couldn’t be used in the trial of an oil-pipeline saboteur.

Ken Ward, an extreme activist and co-founder of Climate Disobedience Center, argued before Judge Michael E. Rickert he broke the law to “save the planet.”

That didn’t play well with the Skagit County judge who also said he acknowledges there is a great deal of controversy over whether #Climate Change even exists.

Rickert said the “extent of what we’re doing to ourselves and our climate and our planet, there’s great controversy over that.” Those comments came after Ward presented a “necessity defense” in court, arguing that he was justified in his actions due to the “grave threat of climate change.”

The judge is now coming under fire from activists for blocking the unusual defense, who argue the ‘#Science is settled’ and that the courts should recognize this consensus.

Climate Disobedience Center

Ward, a 60-year-old Oregonian, sabotaged the emergency safety valve of the TransMountain pipeline Skagit County, endangering everyone operating the pipeline.

The defendant said the court’s decision was “shocked and deeply worrisome” for his case.

Ward believes the planet is in the final stages of collapse and said the judge’s decision to “blithely dismiss the biggest problem facing the world is chilling.” But other judges have given wider latitude.

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Comments (3)

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    Amber

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    The question is did Ken Ward act on his own ? The picture appears to shows others with bolt cutters . Presumably none have owned a car or use fossil fuels to enjoy their quality of life . Those helmets they wear are made courtesy of fossil fuels so what are they saying ?
    What happens to people that mess with the safe operation of a railway or electric transmission lines ? No difference here .
    I wonder if retirement includes saving the planet during years in a prison cell ?

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    I spent 35 years working with similar equipment. Valves locked in position, open or closed, shall only be operated by supervised, qualified people. I believe these donkeys were coached by someone who knew the system and how to do this without causing deaths or disaster.

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    Amber

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    I agree SONNYHILL . Without coaching it is highly unlikely they knew what valve to tamper with . Who trained this guy ? I would be surprised if the valve wasn’t locked out hence the bolt cutter . So who bought the bolt cutter and opened the fence ? One guy … nah .
    What happens to someone who flips a railway switch on a train carrying coal ? Is saving the planet the defence too ?
    The Judge was right to not buy the “save the planet ” excuse .

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