Chicago (AFP) - Four environmental activists were in jail Tuesday in the US state of Minnesota for attempting to shut down a Canadian company's oil pipeline to protest climate change.
Four Necessity Valve Turners said its members cut through a fence Monday to enter an Enbridge Energy facility in Grand Rapids, a city about 130 miles (210 kilometers) from the US-Canada border.
The group, which recorded its activities on social media, said it warned Enbridge that it was attempting to shut off an emergency valve on one of its lines to stop the flow of oil.
The company remotely turned off the flow, according to a spokeswoman for the activists, Diane Leutgeb Munson, who said the goal was to address "the irreversible damage being done to the climate by Enbridge Energy and the fossil fuel industry."
The trespassers were arrested and jailed awaiting arraignment Wednesday, Four Necessity Valve Turners said on its website.
Enbridge confirmed a "tampering incident," which it called "reckless and dangerous," but did not provide details of what exactly the activists had managed to do.
The industry trade group American Petroleum Institute (API), which in 2017 warned of increased threats to oil and gas facilities, condemned the incident as "sabotage."
"Pipelines meet a critical need for Minnesotans as temperatures drop and demand increases over the winter, and our industry takes acts of sabotage very seriously," API's chief Erin Roth said.
Enbridge moves more than half of US-bound Canadian crude oil and a fifth of all natural gas used in the US.