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Pipeline activists face felony charge

Charges were filed Wednesday in Itasca County against four pipeline activists.

Four Catholic Workers were arrested Monday after entering a fenced-off area along Enbridge Energy’s oil pipeline system in Itasca County and protesting oil industry expansion, citing the need to cut fossil fuels to curb climate change.

Brenna Cussen Anglada, 40, of Cuba City, Wis., Daniel Taner Yildirim, 32, of Viroqua, Wis., Michele Anne Naar, 62, of Duluth, and Allyson Elyse Polman, 26, of Duluth, were each charged with felony aiding and abetting attempted damage to a pipeline property and a misdemeanor aiding and abetting attempted criminal damage to property, a news release said. The maximum penalty for the felony is five years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Videos posted to Facebook show the group, which call themselves the "Four Necessity Valve Turners" entering a fenced-off area along Enbridge's mainline corridor — a system of five pipelines that cut across northern Minnesota carrying oil from Alberta to the Enbridge Superior terminal — then tampering with valves onsite as they hold a rosary and sing hymns. The series of live videos end shortly after a law enforcement officer arrives on scene.