Breaking: Michigan Activists In Stand Off With Police Over Tar Sands Pipeline

Photo courtesy MI Cats

Photo courtesy MI Cats

Approximately 40 activists have gathered to shut down work on an Enbridge tar sands pipeline, in Stockbridge, MI. The protest began at about 6:00 this morning, when 4 protestors chained themselves to heavy equipment. At the time of this writing, 2 of the 4 protestors have been cut from the machinery, 2 are still locked down. According to Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands off site media liason Andrew Joyce, at least 6 people have been arrested since the protest over the tar sands pipeline expansion began early this morning. These six included the direct support persons and on-site media contact. The remaining 30 plus activists were removed from the site, to a nearby park. They are being refused contact with the two remaining protestors who are still chained to equipment at the site.

The following statement was released by MI Cats:

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

This morning Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS) is taking direct action near Stockbridge `to halt construction of the Tar Sands pipeline 6B expansion project of Canadian corporation Enbridge. Over 40 Michiganders have come to oppose the infamous corporation’s flagrant expansion of the very same pipeline that spilled out into the Kalamazoo River only three years ago. Enbridge claims they have restored the river after a spill is no excuse to expand the pipeline, expanding the pipeline increases the risk for everyone. Residents are currently halting Enbridge’s construction plans by putting their bodies on the line in an act of non violent civil disobedience against Enbridge’s plans. These measures come after the exhaustion of every method within the law, as it has become apparent from our experiences all throughout the state. Our state government is ready to set aside its own laws and legal processes to accommodate this foreign corporation.

Enbridge itself has consistently demonstrated that their sole priority is their own bottom line, not the health and safety of the people of Michigan, our ecosystem, and even their own workers. Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands seeks to unite the people of Michigan toward the common goal of stopping all transportation of tar sands oil in the state and advocating against the production and transportation of tar sands everywhere. We work in solidarity with the global movement against harsh fossil fuel extractive practices….

We will not allow Canadian tar sands to pass through our backyards. We will no longer allow the same Canadian corporation responsible for the tar sands which still lie at the bottom of our Kalamazoo River to place all of us at risk. We are taking this action to protect from another spill and to ensure a livable planet for generations to come.”

Speaking on behalf of the group, Andrew Joyce said “Enbridge created a disaster in Kalamazoo. Now they want to expand that very same pipeline to double it’s capacity, piping even more tar sands through our state. We are saying never again, to Enbridge tar sands in our water and our land.” He also pointed out that Michigan residents should be aware that the tar sands pipeline being extended throughout the state of Michigan will do very little to help Michigan residents. “All of this is going to exports, it isn’t intended to be used here in the States” Joyce said.

A second statement comes from a member who is directly involved in this action. “This pipeline is a disaster for Michigan’s water and the global climate. I’m blockading this pipeline to prevent the next spill because I care about Michigan’s air and water. People all over the world are taking action in their own community this Fearless Summer. We need to leave all fossil fuels in the ground.” William Lawrence of East Lansing

The Kalamazoo tar sands pipeline spill exasperated EPA funds for a single clean-up at the end of 2012. Although U.S. taxpayers paid more than $850 million to clean-up the Kalamazoo River, Enbridge itself was only fined $3.7 million, even after investigations done by state and federal agencies found that Enbridge was negligent in their duty to protect public health and safety. Americans also help foot the bill for Enbridge and other billion dollar fossil fuel corporations, by spending at least 22 million dollars a day in subsidies granted to these companies, by the Federal government.

Activists continue to petition the police to be allowed access to the site, in order to check on the health and well being of the two remaining protestors. Thus far these requests have been denied. Updates on this action will be provided via the MI Cats facebook page. This is the second time MI Cats protestors have succeeded in halting Enbridge progress on line 6B. Protestor Chris Wahmhoff climbed inside an Enbridge pipeline in Marshall, MI in June of this year, making national headlines, for his role in stopping progress on the pipeline extension.