Climate activist Ken Ward gets no jail time for turning off a valve on the TransMountain pipeline carrying tar-sands oil to the U.S. from Canada in October 2016.
Climate activist Ken Ward, one of the “valve turners” who shut off the flow of tar-sands oil to the U.S. from Canada in October 2016, walked free Friday — without fines, restitution or jail time.
Skagit County Superior Court Judge Michael Rickert imposed a 30-day sentence with credit for the two days already served by Ward when he was arrested after shutting off a valve on the TransMountain pipeline in Burlington. The judge suspended the rest of the sentence in lieu of 30 hours of community service to be served in Skagit County — which Ward said he was looking forward to.
Ward is the first of five defendants who shut off oil valves and face trial in various states. Juries deadlocked twice before Ward was convicted of a single, second-degree burglary charge, for cutting the lock and entering a fenced area to shut off the valve.
Ward never denied his actions and indeed at the trial showed video of his action. His only defense was that the acts were necessary to defend the Earth because all other options to combat catastrophic climate change, including political action, had failed.
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Lauren Regan, Ward’s attorney, said Ward will appeal his loss on his so-called necessity defense.
Ward called the sentence fair, and said he will refrain from further direct action during a six-month period of probation also imposed by the judge. Beyond that, he wasn’t certain.
Ward had faced up to 90 days in jail.
Since his action, the flow of oil — actually stopped for four hours — not only was quickly resumed, but the TransMountain pipeline from Alberta to the coast has been approved by the Canadian federal government for doubled…