Rally and Action to Mark Fourth Anniversary of Kalamazoo Tar Sands Oil Spill
Community members gather at an Enbridge staging ground to mourn the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history as well as the expansion of this same pipeline despite an unfinished cleanup
Leonard, Mich. — Thursday afternoon, the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) rallied and marched to Enbridge’s staging ground outside of Leonard, Michigan. Followed and immediately confronted by law enforcement and pushed around by Enbridge’s contracted security guards from Raven Security, the MI CATS stood strong and held space at the staging ground driveway for several hours.
“We are here on the fourth anniversary of the Kalamazoo spill to call out Enbridge for the death and destruction they’ve caused all over the world by exploiting tar sands,” said one of the demonstrators. “Big industry is allowed to operate unchecked at the expense of all living things, so we must provide accountability.”
Despite a history of harmful spills and leaks, Enbridge is currently expanding the same pipeline that spilled in 2010 to double its capacity to bring tar sands oil across Michigan for export. At this time, Enbridge has approximately 50 remaining miles of pipeline to place in the ground between Ortonville and Marysville, MI before this expansion is complete. The expansion is occurring even though tar sands remain at the bottom of the Kalamazoo River four years after the initial spill.
“What happened in the Kalamazoo River was not an accident,” said a speaker at the rally. “Rather it is a symptom of society crumbling under its own weight. It was both a blast from the past and an omen of more to come if we don’t stop this exploitative tar sands madness.”
During the picket outside the staging grounds, two arrests after conflicting commands were given by multiple officers. Protestors at the road were harassed by pipeline workers and a metal projectile was thrown at an outspoken spill victim.
MI CATS hopes that this action will shine a spotlight on the dangers of tar sands and Enbridge’s complicity as well as generate interest for the August action camp hosted by MI CATS to which anyone is invited.