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12 Arrested at Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion Site in Michigan
Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS) took direct action near Stockbridge, MI, yesterday, to halt construction of the Tar Sands pipeline 6B expansion project of Canadian corporation Enbridge. With the moral and financial support of affected homeowners and others nationwide, MI-CATS took a courageous stand against the expansion of dirty Alberta tar sands oil at the Enbridge construction site, directly across the street from their Stockbridge pumping station, west of M-52.
Arriving before Enbridge employees working on pipeline 6B expansion, more than 40 Michiganders came to oppose the infamous corporation’s flagrant expansion of the very same pipeline that spilled out into the Kalamazoo River only three years ago. While Enbridge claims that they have restored the river since the spill, it is no excuse to expand the pipeline. Expanding the pipeline increases the risk for everyone.
Residents halted Enbridge’s construction plans for seven hours by forming soft blockades at two locations while four physically chained themselves construction equipment used to cut the landscape for the massive flow of dirty fossil fuels by an industry bent on putting profit before planet and people. At least 12 people were arrested including four people locked down to construction equipment along with their medical support team. There were no injuries and no destruction of property, and all charges against those arrested were non-violent, ranging from alleged trespassing to alleged resisting and obstructing.
This act of civil disobedience came 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 or 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.
According to protestor William Lawrence of East Lansing:
"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.”
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.
Please support these blockaders by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and consider helping contribute funds for bail.
Visit EcoWatch’s TAR SANDS page for more related news on this topic.
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.