'An activist trying to highlight the effects of climate change has been convicted for closing a valve on a pipeline carrying crude oil from Canada to the US. He is the third activist to be convicted over the multi-state civil disobedience action.
A Montana jury found Leonard Higgins of Portland, Oregon, guilty of criminal mischief and trespassing Wednesday. Higgins entered a fence site near Big Sandy, Montana, in October 2016 and closed a valve on a pipeline operated by Spectra Energy. Higgins, 65, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
The 12-person jury could have found Higgins guilty of a lesser charge, but determined that his actions caused more than $1,500 in damage to the pipeline’s owner Enbridge Corp., making the criminal mischief a felony offense, according to the Corvallis Gazette Times.
Higgins was one of five activists known as the “Valve Turners,” who took part in the #ShutDown pipeline protests organized by the Climate Disobedience Center in October 2016. Other activists carried out similar acts of civil disobedience to protest oil coming from Canada’s tar sands to the US in Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington state, and beamed the protests on Facebook Live.
When Higgins was asked by a reporter if he would follow through with the illegal act a second time, he said: "Yes," and added that "my only regret is that I didn't start working on this problem sooner."'
Read more: Climate activist convicted in Montana pipeline protest
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