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Oil Train Blockade Activists Declare a Win Despite Trespass Convictions

January 15, 2016

Five climate change activists who blocked an oil train north of Seattle were convicted Friday of trespassing. But the verdict against members of the "Delta 5" group  was cheered by environmentalists because the jury did not find them guilty of obstruction.

The Delta 5 activists had hoped to argue that blocking the BNSF Railway train tracks in 2014 was necessary because of the looming threat of climate change.

But at the end of the trial, a Snohomish County judge told the jury that defense would not stand and they shouldn’t consider it in their deliberations. Basically, climate change shouldn’t play a role in their final decision. 

That was a blow to the environmental activists. But in an unexpected turn of events the jury decided the activists are guilty of trespassing but not guilty of obstruction.

That means the Delta 5 activists won’t have to pay restitution for financial harm they caused BNSF Railway by blocking its trains at its Delta Yard in Everett, Wash.

Each of the convicted activists will be placed on probation and face fines and fees of under $1,000 dollars. They were not sentenced to any jail time.

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The “Delta 5” blocked an oil train at BNSF Railway’s Delta Railyard in Everett for eight hours in September, 2014.

Rising Tide Seattle