Two Indicted For Sabotaging Dakota Access Pipeline

Des Moines, IA – Two environmental activists, Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for charges related to acts of sabotage against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2016 and 2017.

The two are charged with “one count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility, four counts of use of fire in the commission of a felony, and four counts of malicious use of fire.”

The case is being prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa. Southern Iowa prosecutors have led several prosecutions and grand jury probes in ‘Green Scare’ crackdowns on environmental activists since 2004.

The case will be overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger, and the next hearing is scheduled for December 2, 2019. If convicted on all charges, Reznicek and Montoya each face sentences of up to 100 years in prison and over $500,000 in fines.

In July 2017, Reznicek and Montoya held a press conference claiming responsibility for various acts of arson and sabotage against DAPL. One reason they cited for publicly claiming their actions is that pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) allegedly tried to hide news of the sabotage from the public.

The July 2017 statement by the two women described their sabotage campaign as a “peaceful direct action” intended “to push this corporation beyond their means to eventually abandon the project.”

The Dakota Access Pipeline faced massive popular opposition primarily due to the threat an oil spill would pose to the Missouri River, the primary drinking water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. While the pipeline route did not cross the reservation directly, it passed within just a few miles of the reservation boundary in southern North Dakota. Lands seized by police and military forces for the pipeline are still claimed by indigenous Lakota nations as treaty territories guaranteed to them by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.

Protesters in Iowa also started a camp called ‘Mississippi Stand’ near various pipeline construction sites. The Iowa protest camp was initially started by Jessica Reznicek as a one-woman vigil outside a drill site by the river. Ruby Montoya was also a protest organizer with Mississippi Stand. Anti-pipeline protests in Iowa repeatedly blockaded the drill site boring under the Mississippi River as well as other work sites.

Leaked documents show that Reznicek and Montoya had been targeted for surveillance by the mercenary pipeline security firm Tigerswan. In August 2017, FBI agents raided the Catholic Worker house in Des Moines, where the two women had been staying, confiscating personal possessions and files. The charges announced today in the indictment come over a year and two months after the acts of sabotage were publicly claimed.

The Dakota Access Pipeline moves oil from the Bakken shale in northern North Dakota which is obtained via the environmentally harmful process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” DAPL spilled oil several times before beginning commercial operations. The expanded use of fracked oil made possible by the pipeline contributes to runway climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. Climate science reports indicate humanity just a decade left to halt fossil fuel use in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

In claiming responsibility for the sabotage, Reznicek and Montoya said they hoped to “inspire others to act boldly” and that their only “regrets” were that they “did not act enough.”

Below is Unicorn Riot's coverage of the #NoDAPL anti-Dakota Access Pipeline struggle from early summer 2016 to present:

Watch our feature-length documentary, Black Snake Killaz: A #NoDAPL Story

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