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In-Depth Interview: Heroic “Valve Turners” Michael Foster and Emily Johnston Took Direct Action to Shut Down Oil Pipelines

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On October 11, 2016, coordinated direct action by a group of environmental activists shut down 5 major pipelines–including the Keystone–carrying tar sands oil from Canada into the US.  In this podcast, you’ll meet two of the Valve Turners, Michael Foster and Emily Johnston.Here is an article/interview that gives important background on this operation, the people involved, and their motivation.  You can find many videos about it by searching YouTube for “valve turners”.

Emily Johnston is a poet from Seattle, and veteran climate activist.  Michael Foster is a former family counselor who founded an organization that mobilizes youth to plant new trees in the Puget Sound area.  This interview was recorded during a live event held January 14, 2018 at the First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo, California, and includes questions from the audience.

While Foster and Johnston face years in prison for their action, they seem quite joyful at the results and sanguine about their fates.  Foster is due to be sentenced in early February, and Johnston’s trial is likely this summer.

They are quite open about the factors that informed their direct action, and believe it is the logical extension of their years of effort to educate people and promote change in the face of earth’s climate crisis. In Johnston’s case, she has been granted approval by the court to present a “necessity defense”.

This wide-ranging discussion covers many aspects of the fight to end carbon fuel consumption, and the moral acts of individuals in that struggle.  Get the full story, and donate to their legal defense fund, here.