Does climate change pose such an imminent threat to the planet that it’s okay to break the law in order to stop it?
Four climate activists currently awaiting trial in Minnesota for shutting off a tar sands pipeline think so — and on Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed that they should be allowed to make that argument before a jury when their case goes to trial.
“This is a big win for anyone who cares about climate change,” Kelsey Skaggs, a co-founder of Climate Defense Project and a member of the defendants’ legal team, said in a press statement. “The climate necessity defense is an important tool for pushing back against efforts by the federal government and industry to silence opposition to the reckless development of fossil fuels.”
The climate activists who shut down the pipeline in Minnesota are part of a small group of protesters known as the Valve Turners, who each shut off a different pipeline across four states in a concerted protest on October 11, 2016.