For Immediate Release
3 Activists Facing 2-3 Years Awaiting Verdict Now
WASHINGTON - The trial of activists with Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) that began on Monday January 27th enters it’s second day of deliberation for the 3 MI CATS, who took non-violent direct action in Stockbridge, Michigan last July.
The action which Lisa Leggio, Barb Carter, and Vicci Hamlin were a part of was not only aimed at stopping the expansion of an Enbridge pipeline before the next disaster, it was also to stand in solidarity with First Nations land being decimated to mine tar sands, and to use their positions of relative privilege to support communities currently being poisoned in Detroit by the refining of tar sands that flow through Enbridge’s pipelines. Their action has begun to draw a lot of attention to Ingham county, a county in which Law Enforcement is paid by the mega corporation Enbridge energy.
This Grandmother, Single mother of 2, and 22 year old are part of the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands, which has vowed to continue peaceful resistance against fossil fuels no matter the sentence imposed. If found guilty these 3 women will face potential 2-3 year sentences for their 1 day peaceful protest. Vicci Hamlin ( who became a great grandmother monday) expressed how for her and Lisa as parents this is a necessity stating “ The threat that tar sands extraction poses to my children, grandchildren and now great grandchild requires me to act”. Lisa Leggio (also expecting to become a grandmother next week) said “ I came to michigan from New York, and fell in love with nature and the water. Seeing up-close the devastation that the 2010 tar sands spill caused to the the Kalamazoo river and surrounding community, I think about my daughter and her unborn child. What are we leaving them? I did this for them, and we did this for everyone's children”.
Despite the passion of these 3 women. Ingham courts have not permitted the defense to mention the Kalamazoo oil spill, and many of the reasons that lead to the defendants taking this action. On Wednesday Barb Carter was silenced by Judge William Collette for mentioning that she lived 3 miles away from Marathon Tar Sands refinery. As well as personally questioning her after both prosecution and defense questioned her. Also striking her statement about living so to the toxic landfill, and how it often affects her ability to breath when entering or leaving her home.
The Jury began deliberating early thursday afternoon and before adjourning asked Ingham County what might happen if they could not reach a verdict, signaling a hung jury could potentially happen.
Though verdict could be given at anytime.
The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) seeks to unite the people of Michigan towards a common goal of stopping all transportation and refining of tar sands oil in the state and advocating against the production/transportation of tar sands everywhere.