An Act of felony vandalism or an act of

eco-terrorism?; You decide.


In a press release by The United States Attorney’s office; the woman convicted of  “committing an act of violence against a railroad carrier” was sentenced by the Court.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes agents from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in connection with the BNSF Railway Police.  Critical investigative assistance is being provided by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

Ellen Brennan Reiche, 28 was arrested on the BNSF Railway tracks near Bellingham,(cliffside Drive) near midnight on November 28, 2020.  Reiche was convicted September 9, 2021, of placing a ‘shunt’ – a device that interferes with train signals – on the tracks.. She was sentenced, yesterday December 17th, 2021,  in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 12 months and one day in prison and three years of supervised release.

Prosecutor makes statement at Sentencing

The prosecutor asked for  27-month sentence, Quoting the prosecutor “There have been at least two examples just within the past year that hit close to home. In one, an oil train derailed near Custer Washington, (see The Fourth Corner Story Here), causing massive fires and other damage, and in the other, a passenger train bound for Seattle derailed in Montana, killing three people and injuring dozens.”

He continued… “Here, if a train had derailed where Reiche placed the shunt, numerous nearby homes and the train crew would have been badly affected. And even setting aside the risk of a derailment, the shunt endangered anyone crossing the tracks at Cliffside Drive. There might have been no warning from the crossing system at all.””

Background and fact finding by The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force working with BNSF Found:

On the night of October 11, 2020, multiple shunts were placed in three different locations in Whatcom and Skagit Counties.  The shunts triggered an automatic braking system on a train that was transporting hazardous and combustible material.  The emergency braking then caused a portion of the train to decouple from the engine.  Decoupling has the potential to cause a derailment—in this case—of tanker cars of flammable gas in a residential area.

A shunt is comprised of wire that is stretched between the rails and often fastened with magnets, disrupting the systems that indicate a train is on the tracks.  On ten occasions, shunts were placed in areas that disrupt the crossing guards where the tracks cross streets, so vehicles could have tried to cross the tracks unaware of the oncoming train…

Local Senator Called for Senate Hearings on the Derailment in Custer that can be seen here…


The basis of this report can be seen at the following link by the Western Washington U.S. Attorney’s office.

Our take at the Fourth Corner:

The local Environmental Community should be committed to helping stop this kind of activity and be denouncing it at every Opportunity since this was obviously pointed at the destruction of people’s lives and property and trains carrying fossil fuels.

Doesn’t the activity of the convicted woman indicate a desire for terrorism on the tracks; and does the investigation show that even more activity may have taken place to put communities in danger.

And doesn’t that put those in the Environmental Community on notice that there could be a portion of their followers that may commit terrorist acts in the name of the environmental dogma being propagated by some interests? All of us,with particular attention to the local environmental community,  should be vigilant for such activity.