Dakota Access Pipeline protester found guilty

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Dakota Access Pipeline protester found guilty
Court takes judicial notice of DNR position on climate change

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Ed Fallon, at right, speaks at a press conference with pipeline protesters during a break in the trial of protester Heather Pearson, in front of the Freedom Rock at the Calhoun County Courthouse.

ROCKWELL CITY — A pipeline protester has been found guilty of trespassing after a jury trial in Calhoun County Thursday.

Heather Pearson, of Logan, was one of the protesters who entered land being worked on by Dakota Access LLC on Oct. 29, 2016, as the company was building an oil pipeline across four states, including Iowa.

Although she admitted being on the land, Pearson and her defense attorneys claimed she was justified in being there due to what they called a climate emergency. The land east of Rockwell City located near the corner of County Roads N65 and D35 is owned by Shirley Gerjets, who opposed the pipeline company’s presence there.

Although the court officially recognized the threat of global climate change to Iowa, and Pearson’s defense relied on that issue and questions of eminent domain rights, the two men and four women of the jury seemed to agree with Calhoun County Attorney Tina Meth-Farrington, who said none of that was relevant.

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