Protesters cause temporary shut-down of pipeline in northeast Mo - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Protesters cause temporary shut-down of pipeline in NE Montana

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The battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota came to Montana on Tuesday. 

Protesters forced the temporary shutdown of five pipelines carrying oil from Canadian tar sands, including one at Coal Banks Landing south of Big Sandy in Chouteau County.

Spectra Energy confirmed to MTN News that trespassers tampered with a valve on its express pipeline on Tuesday, and that as a precaution it was shut off.

The environmental group Climate Direct Action said Tuesday that it had also successfully shut down express pipelines at locations in Washington, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

The group says it was attempting to shut the pipelines down over concerns about global warming, and in solidarity with members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Spectra Energy says it worked with law enforcement officers in its response to the tampering incident in Chouteau County, and that their primary concern was safety of the community and environment.

The website Unicorn Riot posted the following information on Tuesday:

Early this morning, five water protectors successfully shut down five pipelines across the northern United States that were delivering tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada. The action was in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock.

The individuals used manual safety valves and bolt cutters to access and shut down the flow of tar sands oil into the US. They are “calling on President Obama to use emergency powers to keep the pipelines closed and mobilize for the extraordinary shift away from fossil fuels now required to avert catastrophe.”

The actions were undertaken by Emily Johnson, 50, and Michael Foster, 52, of Seattle, WA, Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA, Ken Ward, 59, of Corbett, OR, and Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, OR.

There is no word yet on whether any of the protesters might face charges.

Spectra released the following statement: 

"Spectra Energy has responded to a situation during which trespassers broke into a locked facility and tampered with a valve on its Express Pipeline Tuesday morning in Montana. We coordinated with law enforcement in this response. Our first concern is for the safety of the community and the environment, and tampering with this important U.S. energy infrastructure will not be tolerated. This pipeline provides a vital source of affordable, reliable energy to fuel the everyday lives of Americans. As a cautionary measure, we temporarily shut down this section of the Express Pipeline."

RELATED: UM hosts supply drive for Standing Rock reservation

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