Petition is successful with 61,426 signatures
To: Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart J. Dunnings III and Judge William E. Collette
Free The MI-CATS 3
After delivering your voice alongside over 60,000 other signatures to the judge on Monday, and a month long campaign supported by CREDO and so many of you to build awareness and public pressure calling for leniency; Vicci, Lisa, and Barbara were released from jail on Wednesday with 13 months probation and no prison time.
Committing peaceful civil disobedience to block dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure is a courageous act of heroism. Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio and Barbara Carter deserve immediate release -- not more jail time. We urge the court to show leniency.
Why is this important?
Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio and Barbara Carter -- the MI-CATS 3 -- locked themselves to machinery to block the construction of Enbridge's line 6B tar sands pipeline. The pipeline is the same one that, in 2010, spilled more than a million gallons of tar sands, fouling a huge section of the Kalamazoo River.
Now, after being convicted of the charges brought against them, they are being held in jail without bond until their sentencing on March 5. They face up to three years in prison for taking non-violent direct action to protect their community and the global commons(air, land, water, climate, etc.) from Enbridge's toxic pipeline and the carbon pollution these tar sands will spew-out if burned.
Vicci Hamlin is a 60-year-old great-grandmother. Lisa Leggio, a single mother of two. Barb Carter lives three miles from a tar sands refinery which she says makes it hard for her to breathe when she enters or leaves her home. These women shouldn't spend another day in jail for taking courageous action to disrupt Enbridge's dirty business.
Appallingly, Enbridge's Kalamazoo River spill still hasn't been fully cleaned up, despite a deadline of December 31, 2013 set by the EPA. Meanwhile, Enbridge has been doing work to divert the broken pipeline and ensure their profits keep flowing along with the oil.
Vicci, Lisa and Barbara were arrested as part of a July 2013 protest organized by the environmental action group Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS), along with its sister organization, Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands (D-CATS) to protest the continued construction of the pipeline and the ecocide caused by the extraction of tar sands.
They were found guilty after a four day trial during which the judge refused to allow the defendants to discuss the 2010 oil spill or other environmental issues that motivated the non-violent protest. The judge's decision to have them held without bond until sentencing is unconscionable. Being held without bond prior to sentencing is only warranted when the judge believes the defendants are a flight risk or pose a serious threat to the community.
From the Canadian tar sands themselves, to spill-prone pipelines like Enbridge's, to polluting refineries like the one in Detroit that process tar sands; tar sands infrastructure is an imminent threat to communities and the climate.
Tar sands is ripped out from underneath the boreal forest in Western Canada and processed using fracked natural gas to sell as a dirty form of crude oil. The extraction, transportation, refinement, and burning of tar sands poses serious health risks to nearby communities. The burden of tar sands pollution falls disproportionately on low-income communities, communities of color and First Nations communities.
In addition to these direct, unjust impacts, tar sands release at least 15 percent higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude when burned, and are several times more energy-intensive to produce. Dr. James Hansen, retired head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and atmospheric physicist, warns that tapping into this large, carbon-intensive dirty energy source will mean “game over” for the climate.
People taking non-violent direct action alongside communities fighting back against corporations that put their profits ahead of people and the climate should be lifted up, not thrown away like we throw away natural “resources”. Sign this petition to show solidarity with the MI-CATS 3, and with their efforts to reverse ecological collapse and defend future generations’ access to fresh water, a stable climate, and clean breathable air.
For background on the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill http://michiganradio.org/post/federal-regulators-won-t-grant-enbridge-more-time-dredge-oil-kalamazoo-river
Interview with MI-CATS’s Chris Wahmoff on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/3/michigan_activists_face_up_to_2
Jordaan, Sarah M. "Land and water impacts of oil sands production in Alberta." Environmental science & technology 46.7 (2012): 3611-3617.
(link to online source: http://www.pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es203682m)
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