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Two Activists Claim Responsibility for Damage to Dakota Access Pipeline

dakota access pipeline
Carl Wycoff
Dakota Access Pipeline construction in central Iowa.

Two Iowa women are claiming responsibility for damaging the Dakota Access Pipeline multiple times while it was under construction.

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya say they started a "peaceful direct action campaign" on the night of the 2016 presidential election. They say they burned heavy equipment in Buena Vista County. In the following months, they say they used welding equipment to damage valves along the pipeline throughout Iowa and part of South Dakota. 

Amber Duvall is a spokeswoman for the activists. She says the women saw vandalism as one of the last options to delay the pipeline after protests and hunger strikes didn’t work. 

"It’s really important to them that the Iowa Utilities Board hears the cries of the Iowan citizens and is not working for corporate interests and is instead working for who they’re appointed to work for," Duvall says. "As Iowa citizens, people really do care about what’s happening and the atrocities happening to the land."

State troopers arrested Reznicek and Montoya Monday morning when they started damaging an Iowa Utilities Board sign after a news conference. Duvall says they have been charged with damaging the sign, but not with damaging the pipeline. 

She says Reznicek and Montoya want the public to know about the damage they’ve done to the pipeline. 

"They felt the company was hiding it," Duvall says. "They were saying things like ‘ditch issues’ with the pipeline when in all reality it was actually sabotage." 

Duvall says the women’s actions were not associated with any organizations or groups.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter