‘Valve Turners’ Shut Down Enbridge Oil Pipelines In Minnesota

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Above Photo: From Unicornriot.ninja

Itasca County, Minnesota – Today four people calling themselves the “Four Necessity Valve turners” shut down Enbridge’s Line 3 and Line 4 tar sands oil pipelines in Minnesota citing “imminent and irreversible damage being done to the planet.” The activists entered pipeline service locations and advised Enbridge of their intention to stop the flow of oil by shutting down the safety valves. Enbridge eventually manually shut down both the Line 3 and 4 tar sands pipelines. The ‘four necessity valve turners’: Allyson Polman, Brenna Cussen Anglada, Michele Naar Obed, and Daniel Yildirim, documented their action in a live feed filled with prayer, song, and an encounter with law enforcement, with one officer who came on them with their gun drawn.

The four identified themselves as Catholic Workers and farmers and said they wanted to defend life against the fossil fuel “industry that benefits the few in the expense of all life.”

[UPDATE: As of 3:22am CDT on Feb. 5, 2019, Facebook has removed the page that the livestreams of the action were broadcast from.]

A live feed announcing the direct action began with a statement:

“We’re inside the security fence for Enbridge pipelines 4 and 3. We are tying a banner, you can see the back of it, that says “the time is now for unprecedented urgent action.” We’re nonviolent. We’re four catholic workers and farmers who care about all life, in particular those who are most vulnerable. Including those that have been marginalized by mainstream society, and the Earth that has been marginalized by mainstream society.

Grunts can be heard on the livestream as activists used bolt cutters to cut the chain around the valve. In the video, a speaker can be heard saying that they know what they’re doing is illegal, but that they found it necessary anyway.

In the second video the valve turners read the “4 Necessity Valve Turners Statement of Purpose and Intent“:
[Added link of mirror of second video 02.05.19} 

[Broken link due to Facebook removing page – 02.05.19]


After they read their statement, they valve turners began to pray and sing.
[Broken link due to Facebook removing page – 02.05.19]

The third live video begins with the valve turners stating that Enbridge had shut down the pipeline valve. The Catholic Workers also laced bags of rosaries and prayer ties along the fence and pipeline equipment.
[Broken link due to Facebook removing page – 02.05.19]

The fourth video shows the valve turners reporting that Line 4 had been shut down by Enbridge, while they were also trying to get Enbridge to shut down Line 3 in the same way.
[Broken link due to Facebook removing page – 02.05.19]

Their fifth video reports that Enbridge was aware that they are inside the oil pipeline valve perimeter, and that Enbridge shut down both the Line 3 and Line 4 pipelines. One of the valve turners told the live audience,

We stand in solidarity with people all around the world right now who are saying enough is enough. It’s not worth it. The few at the top who are getting richer and richer accumulating more and more wealth. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the extinction of our species,and all the nonhuman species that will go extinct on this planet if we continue to burn fossil fuels and accelerate the burning of fossil fuels at this rate.

[Broken link due to Facebook removing page – 02.05.19]

Another speaker from the valve turners group stated that they wanted to make clear that this action wasn’t just about one particular pipeline project, connecting their actions to recent regulatory approvals for Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline expansion, they went on to say,

We feel every avenue has been exhausted that could been done through the political and judicial route, those have been exhausted.

The speaker also stated that 68,000 public comments against Line 3 were registered while only 3,000 were in favor of the pipeline. The PUC would vote unanimously to approve the project despite the opposition.

In the sixth video, the four valve turners sing a song together as the person streaming shows the prayers ties and crosses tied to the valves and fence. A law enforcement officer arrives and starts interacting with the valve turners, stating that they had a lot of calls and now have to deal with them. The valve turners say they should go to their other calls that they just plan to stay and won’t damage anything. A second officer arrives with his gun drawn demanding the the valve turners show their hands. After a discussion the police officer who arrived with his gun drawn asked,

Do I have to hold you at gunpoint so you’ll hand me that tool? Because I can do that. That’s my policy. That’s my personal prerogative.

The seventh video starts with the streamer saying the phone had been acting weird. They said that in the break between streams, the police threatened them at gunpoint demanding they hand over the bolt cutters. The speaker went on to describe how when the officer tried to climb the fence, they decided to give him the bolt cutters, worried that he would get hurt climbing over the barbed wire.

As the valve turners were led out, one of the officers said, “You folks are the first people I’ve had to deal with this pipe business.” One valve turner responded, “If they stop doing what they are doing hopefully you won’t have to deal with anymore.” Before the live video feed went down, a law enforcement officer can be seen returning mittens a valve turner had given him to keep his hands warm.
[Broken link due to Facebook removing page – 02.05.19]

Currently, the four valve turners are in police custody at the Itasca county police department in Grand Rapids in Minnesota. They are set to be arraigned on Wednesday morning. Protest actions against Enbridge oil pipelines continue in Minnesota as the recently elected Governor Tim Waltz debates whether to withdraw an appeal against the Minnesota Public Utilities commission’s certificate of need granted to the tar sands oil pipeline project.

Criminal charges against a the first valve turners who took a similar action to shut down pipelines where dismissed by a judge in October 2018.

  • Pat moore

    We stand with the valve turners, thanking them for their courage and compassion