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2 Women Charged With Conspiracy, Arson Over 2017 Dakota Pipeline Protests

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On July 24, 2017 Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya claimed responsibility for sabotage and arson against the Dakota Access Pipeline. They began dismantling a sign outside the Iowa Utilities Board, and were arrested. Unicorn Riot / YouTube screenshot

Federal authorities on Wednesday charged two women who set fire to machinery and attempted to pierce portions of the Dakota Access Pipeline with torches with counts of conspiracy and arson.


Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek worked in November of 2016 to damage the controversial pipeline, hosting a news conference in July of 2017 in front of the Iowa Utilities Board describing their actions. The charges come more than two years after that press conference, and the women could face decades in prison if convicted.

Authorities also charged a South Dakota man this month with a felony conspiracy to commit criminal mischief for participating in a September 2016 #NoDAPL protest, claiming that DNA from a cigarette butt collected at the scene links him to the action. Native protesters have faced particularly harsh charges and convictions in the aftermath of the pipeline protests.

As reported by The New York Times:

"Some may view these actions as violent, but be not mistaken," Ms. Montoya said at the news conference in July 2017. "We acted from our hearts and never threatened human life nor personal property. What we did do was fight a private corporation that has run rampantly across our country seizing land and polluting our nation's water supply."

For a deeper dive:

Women: The New York Times, Des Moines Register. Man: Bismarck Tribune

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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