Climate activists Ruby Montoya and Jessica Renzicek are pleading guilty in federal court in the legal action against their sabotage of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On July 24th, Ruby Montoya and Jessica Renzicek released a press release admitting that they had carried out multiple acts of sabotage against the then-under-construction Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in Spring 2017. The two activists set fire to heavy machinery and used blow torches to damage the oil pipeline and valves in an effort to decisively halt the project. While the DAPL was ultimately finished, their actions singlehandedly delayed construction for weeks or months. Their eco-sabotage resulted in millions of dollars of damage.
In September 2019, Jessica, 39, and Ruby, 30, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage to an energy facility, malicious use of fire, and other felonies. Montoya and Reznicek are now set to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to damage an energy facility. The other charges will be dismissed, with sentencing due in May 2021. Pleading guilty may result in up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Both Montoya and Reznicek were seasoned activists and knew sabotage may carry consequences. However, they were clear that direct action was a must, if we are to protect the planet and future of life. They asserted they were in support of indigenous sovereignty and were resisting corporate power.
Please listen to Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek talking with Jennifer Murnan and Max Wilbert during this 2017 interview, or read the transcript here. Their understanding and commitment is inspiring. We salute Ruby and Jessica and will keep readers up-to-date on their sentencing and where people can send support.