Sentence Upheld for Woman Who Damaged Dakota Access Pipeline

The U-S Court of Appeals has upheld the eight-year prison sentence given to a woman in 2021 after she admitted to damaging the Dakota Access Pipeline

Jessica Reznicek pleaded guilty to conspiracy to damage an energy facility after admitting to vandalism in Buena Vista, Mahaska and Wapello County that included taking a blowtorch to the pipeline. Reznicek argued she was motivated by saving the environment, and the district court erred by classifying her actions as terrorism.

The Appeals Court ruling says the district court would have imposed the same sentence without the terrorism enhancement. It says the district court sentencing considered Reznicek’s “laudable, though ultimately misguided, motivations,” as well as her encouragement of others to imitate her crimes, that her vandalism caused “a grave risk to others,” and that her crimes continued over a long stretch of time.”

Ruby Montoya admitted to the vandalism along with Reznicek, and reached a plea deal with prosecutors. She has been fighting to withdraw her plea and take the case to trial.

The two women damaged the Buena Vista County pipeline on Election Night in 2016 at a construction site southwest of Newell.

(thanks to Radio Iowa for contributing)

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