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Northwest Activists Arrested After Shutting Down Canada-To-US Oil Pipelines

October 11, 2016

Protesters — all from the Pacific Northwest — were arrested Tuesday at all five sites across the northern U.S. where pipelines deliver oil from Canada’s oil sands to American refineries.

The pipelines cross the U.S.-Canadian border in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Washington State.

Across the country nine people were arrested. They all came from Washington and Oregon. Five of the arrested were activists who closed the pipeline valves and four were people video-recording or livestreaming their actions, said Afrin Sopariwala of Climate Direct Action. The newly formed group is a loose coalition of climate activist organizations that the arrested activists belong to, she said.

Three of the arrests were in Anacortes, Washington. Protesters there manually shut down the Kinder Morgan Transmountain pipeline. It currently delivers 180,000 barrels of oil per day to refineries in Puget Sound.

“Everybody who participated today and who got arrested are you know parents, grandmothters and activists who have been concerned about the habitability of our planet,” Sopariwala said.

A press release from Climate Direct Action identified  the five arrested activists as Ken Ward, 59, of Corbett, Oregon; Emily Johnston, 50, of Seattle; Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, Washington; Michael Foster, 52, of Seattle; and Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, Oregon.

The activists said they wanted to stop all Canadian oil from entering the U.S. in solidarity with the protests in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been fighting a pipeline there since last spring.

Shell oil, which operates a refinery in Anacortes, did not immediately respond to a request to comment for this story.


The five climate activists arrested after shutting down Canada-to-U.S. pipelines pose for a photo. They were identified by Climate Direct Action as (left to right): Emily Johnson, Annette Klapstein, Leonard Higgins, Ken Ward, and Michael Foster.