MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota judge has dismissed charges against three climate change activists who tried to shut down two Enbridge Energy crude oil pipelines in northwestern Minnesota.

Clearwater County District Judge Robert Tiffany ruled Tuesday that the prosecution failed to prove any damage. He threw out the case even before the protesters could present a so-called “necessity defense” to the jury.

Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, of the Seattle area, admitted turning the emergency shut-off valves on two pipelines in 2016 as part of a coordinated action in four states. They were charged with felonies.

The two women and a third defendant had planned to argue that the threat of climate change from Canadian tar sands crude was so imminent that their actions were not only morally right, but necessary.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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