For Immediate Release
Three Peaceful Protesters Handcuffed and Jailed Immediately Following Four Day Trial
Vicci Hamiln, Lisa Leggio and Barb Carter face 2-3 years in jail after being found guilty following a July protest against Enbridge’s tar sand pipeline
Lansing, MI – Three activists from Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS) were found guilty Friday in an Ingham County court on charges of trespassing and resisting and obstructing a police officer. The verdict followed a weekend of direct actions against Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline. The three face sentences of 2-3 years. Though not considered a flight risk, the three women were denied bail and are forced to remain in custody until sentencing on March 5, 2014.
Their July protest aimed to stop the expansion of a historically polluting Enbridge pipeline that would carry tar sands across the Great Lakes region. In 2010, a devastating tar sands spill contaminated the Kalamazoo River and surrounding community. It was the largest spill ever on U.S. soil. The company behind it was Enbridge.
Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio, and Barb Carter joined MI-CATS after years of activism and selfless volunteer work.
Hamlin, a 60-year-old who on Monday became a great-grandmother, has been involved in social activism since the 1960s and until being taken into custody worked as a domestic abuse counselor in Indiana. Twenty-two-year-old Carter lives in Detroit and works with the homeless community. She is an active member of Occupy Detroit and lives three miles from a tar sands refinery which she says makes it hurt for her to breathe when she enters or leaves her home. Leggio, a single mother of two, is expecting her first grandchild next week. Originally from Brooklyn, she was active in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and organized with Occupy Sandy – logging almost 200 hours of service time in two weeks.
During the trial, the women were not be able to argue that their actions were “environmentally necessary” although all three have been personally affected by the environmental and health effects of the industry.
With a looming climate crisis, unjust laws continue to allow for the destruction of the environment, communities and public health – making nonviolent actions like the one these three women took, necessary. Residents and activists say they will continue to work tirelessly to stop the transporting and refining of all tar sands oil.
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.