Today protesters came out in solidarity with the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MICATS) waving signs, chanting and singing a rendition of “This Land” by Woodie Guthrie updated to reflect the reality that the almost all the US is stolen land and to highlight the dangers of tar sands mining. Protesters with Everglades Earth First! stood in front of the Citibank office on Palm Beach Island, one of the richest cities in the country to highlight the fact that Citibank is one of the largest funders of tar sands oil extraction and show their support for the MICATS three who expect to receive their verdict on felony charges regarding a single day action against a Michigan pipeline project.
UPDATE from the MICATS website: “The trial of peaceful activists from Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) ended today with the jury finding Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio, and Barb Carter guilty of both charges brought against them: trespassing and resisting and obstructing an officer. Supporters are deeply saddened that after deliberation for over 10 hours the verdict returned as guilty of all counts. The jury was split most of this time, returning to the courtroom several times for clarification. Sentencing was scheduled for March 5th and the defendants’ bail was revoked and immediately taken into custody.”
We stand in solidarity with the MICATS 3 and mourn their fate from an unjust and money hungry state.
Below an Article from the Fire Ant Announcing today’s protest:Environmental Activists Protesting Over Tar Sands at Citibank on Palm Beach Tomorrow
Environmental activists allied with Everglades Earth First! are planning a demonstration tomorrow morning at the Citibank offices on Palm Beach, in solidarity with Midwest activists facing felony charges for obstructing a Michigan pipeline project.
“I know everyone loves an opportunity to raise a ruckus on ‘The Island,'”
one protest organizer announced. “Let’s make it loud enough for the Koch Brothers to hear us!”
The protest concerns multiple issues: 1) the mining of tar sands, whose environmental impact is highly toxic; 2) oil pipelines, whose safety record is uneven; 3) fossil fuels generally, and their impact on climate; and 4) the “Green Scare,” official labeling of environmental activists as terrorists, and their disproportionate targeting and prosecution.
Organizers of tomorrow’s protest picked the Citibank site for the its financial support of Enbridge Energy. Enbridge owns and operates Michigan pipeline 6B, which transports crude oil extracted from Canadian tar sands. In 2010 6B suffered a six-foot rupture that dumped more than one million gallons of crude, polluting almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River. One of the largest and costliest on-land oil spills in U.S. history, clean-up is still ongoing.
The Kalamazoo disaster notwithstanding, Enbridge proposes to expand its troubled pipeline to transport volumes of crude that would exceed the Keystone XL, the highly controversial pipeline project that’s the subject of a raging political dispute.
Michigan environmental activists have been agitiating against Enbridge’s expansion plans, four of their number using lock boxes to attach themselves to machinery on a company construction site last July. Arrested and charged with resisting or obstructing police — a felony in Michigan — they are now on trial.
Why should Floridians care about the Enbridge dispute? One visiting Michigan activist, Toby V. Potter, put it like this:
There are countless reasons to care about an oil spill, wherever it happens, as well as a law that makes it a felony to not strictly follow police orders. Whether the struggle looks like settlers standing in solidarity with First Nations people whose land is being destroyed to mine tar sands, or people trying to create a worthwhile precedent for holding a multinational corporation accountable for an atrocity like the largest inland oil spill in the U.S….the fight is one for justice. The law that is on trial right now is currently somewhat unique to Michigan. Most states have misdemeanor offenses for “resisting without violence;” in Michigan doing anything other than exactly what the police order is a 2-year felony charge. Repression running rampant in any area is cause for concern everywhere.
Enbridge Pipeline Protest
Friday, January 31, 9 a.m.
400 Royal Palm Way, Palm Beach
Fire Ant — an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting — covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.