Canadian Pipeline Company Puts Michigan Grandmas In Jail

MI Cats Get The Book Thrown At Them For Protesting 1 Million Gallon Enbridge Pipeline Spill
Entbridge jails US citizensBail revoked for protesters as they await sentencing. Grandmothers deemed flight risks?

In July 2010, an Canadian-owned pipeline ruptured and dumped a million gallons of heavy tar sands much into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, MI. Thirty-five mile section of the river was closed for two years during cleanup, but the company is continuing to ask for extensions and the job is far from finished. Meanwhile, Enbridge is very busy building a new pipeline extension to carry more tar sands bitumen. You can see the priorities. Meanwhile, four years after the event, the EPA estimates that 180,000 gallons remains on the bottom of the river. It was the largest and costliest on land spill in US. history.

So you can see why the locals are dissatisfied. Three citizens went so far as to publicly protest the pipeline extension by handcuffing themselves to Enbridge’s equipment. They were taken away and – surprisingly – charged with FELONY trespassing. A split jury convicted Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio, and Barb Carter guilty of trespassing and resisting and obstructing an officer and they await sentencing. Bail has been revoked prior to the March 5th sentencing. They face up to three years. Hamlin has just become a great grandmother and attributes her activism to concern for her family’s future.

The felony charges are highly unusual for this sort of crime, as is the sentence.

The United States Department of Transportation fined Enbridge $3.7 million dollars, listing 22 maintenance and safety violations. There was no inconvenience to Enbridge senior management.

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