Water Protector Kriss Wells Goes to Trial for Trying to Stop Dakota Access’ Crude Oil Pipeline

First major trial in Iowa of one of the over 500 arrestees in the State

June 5th, 2017—Boone County Iowa–The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition, composed of 30 groups across Iowa, stands with Water Protector Kriss Wells as he goes before a jury to trial on Tuesday for trying to stop the construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline.

On August 31, Water Protector and grandfather, Kriss Wells, was arrested trying to block the construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline from crossing the Des Moines River, the drinking water source for central Iowa including the city of Des Moines.

On Tuesday June 6th Mr. Wells will go to trial in Boone County where he is charged with trespass.  He has pled not guilty.  In court he will argue that he had a moral obligation to stop the pipeline, using what is called a “justification defense”.  The justification defense has become an important precept of Iowa law in cases of trespassing.  The argument is that his actions were necessary to avoid an immediate harm to the River and future generations and is therefore justifiable.

Kriss Wells says, “Iowa law requires the State to prove I lacked a justification, but I acted to curb global warming and protect water and future generations.  We are already seeing its dire consequences.”

Mark Edwards of Boone and one of the key organizers of the nonviolent direct action that day added, “no matter what our political leanings are we need our water, our soils, our private property rights and especially our children’s future protected and Kriss Wells represents us all in standing up for these.”

This trial comes on the heels of news that the Dakota Access pipeline, which went into full operation on June 1st, has already had three leaks.  In addition, recent investigative reports document the abominable militaristic tactics used on Water Protectors at Standing Rock and in Iowa.  In those reports the Boone County sheriff’s department was cited for having behaved decently and treating the Water Protectors in Boone County fairly.

Mr. Wells and members of the coalition will hold a press conference after the trial.