Imagine a world in where a person claims to care so very much about the environment that they protest the building of a pipeline, screaming to anyone who will listen that “water is a human right” and that if the pipeline were to leak it could and would compromise the water supply in the area. Yet that same person or people, in this case, would choose to deliberately CAUSE the very same leak to damage that very same water supply simply to prove a point???
What level of madness is this?
That is exactly what two Iowa environmental terrorists just did. Jessica Reznicek, age 35, and Ruby Montoya, age 27, both of Des Moines, Iowa and both have a lengthy history of arrests for political dissent. Both women are heavily involved in Iowa’s Catholic Worker social justice movement. They have claimed responsibility for deliberately and repeatedly damaging the Dakota Access Pipeline while the $3.8 billion project spanning four states was under construction in Iowa.
The women held a news conference to boast of their actions, describing the deliberate damage as a “direct action” campaign that began on Election Day 2016. The news conference was held outside of the Iowa Utilities Board’s offices and they provided a detailed description their deliberate efforts to stop the pipeline’s completion.
Reznicek and Montoya described in detail the first instance of destruction which involved the burning of at least five pieces of heavy equipment along the pipeline route in northwest Iowa’s Buena Vista County. Both women were taken into custody by Iowa state troopers when they abruptly began wielding a crowbar and hammer as weapons to do more and greater damage while located on state property.
Reznicek stated at the press conference –
“The Dakota Access Pipeline is an issue that affects this entire nation and the people that are subject to its rule. With DAPL, we have seen incredible issues regarding the rule of law, indigenous sovereignty, land seizures, state-sanctioned brutality, as well as corporate protections and pardons for their wrongdoings. To all those that continue to be subjected to the government’s injustices, we humbly stand with you, and we ask now that you stand with us.”
The two women went on to detail and explain how they researched exactly how to most effectively pierce the steel pipe used to construct the pipeline. In March Reznicek and Montoya explained how they began using oxyacetylene cutting torches in an effort to damage the exposed, empty pipeline valves. They then continued to methodically and deliberately destroy the pipeline in Mahaska County located in southeast Iowa. Their actions delayed the completion of the pipeline for weeks, costing tons of money in the process.
The women then used their torches to cause damage up and down the pipeline all throughout Iowa and into part of South Dakota. They described how they moved from valve to valve until they ran out of supplies. They then turned to arson using tires and gasoline-soaked rags as an effective means to burn multiple valve sites and electric units. They also damaged heavy equipment and easements throughout the state of Iowa. In May, the women again attempted to deliberately pierce a valve in southeast Iowa’s Wapello County this time using a cutting torch, except this time oil was already in the pipe.
During the press conference, the women stated their actions were rarely reported in the media and the press conference was their way of making sure the public knew the truth, as they contend vital information from the public by both the federal government and Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. Energy Transfer Partners is the pipeline developer. Montoya was also highly critical of decisions made by the courts and public officials that allowed the project to continue, using this as justification for their willful sabotage.
Montoya stated in the press conference –
“Our conclusion is that the system is broken and it is up to us as individuals to take peaceful action and remedy it, and this we did, out of necessity.”
Both women were booked into the Polk County Jail on charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief for damaging metal letters on the sign outside the Iowa Utilities Board building and held on $1,000 bond. However, there is an active and open investigation into the arson and vandalism that were done to the pipeline and construction equipment. According to the special agent in charge of the arson and explosives bureau of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Ronald Humphrey the details of the investigation are currently confidential because it is currently ongoing.
The Dakota Access Pipeline became operational on June 1, 2017, with a capacity to ship approximately 520,000 barrels of oil daily. It transports crude oil from the Bakken/Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to a distribution hub near Patoka, IL.