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Know the West

The Latest: Ecoterrorist in Vail fire is sentenced


In 1998, the Vail, Colo., ski resort was growing, and so were the tensions around it. Some accused the rich of monopolizing public lands for pricey recreation; others saw Vail's planned expansion as encroaching on habitat essential to the rare Canada lynx. That October, members of the radical Earth Liberation Front set fire to ski resort buildings, causing $12 million in damage and unintentionally provoking sympathy for Vail ("Vail fires outrage community," HCN, 11/9/98). Two of the four suspects pled guilty in 2006, and in 2012, Rebecca J. Rubin turned herself in.

In late January, a judge sentenced Rubin to five years in prison for her involvement in the Vail fire and arsons in Oregon and California. Rubin must also pay $13 million in restitution – and do some homework. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken ordered her to read two books: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, which describes nonviolent ways to protest, and Nature's Trust by Mary C. Wood, University of Oregon environmental law professor.