All Charges Dropped Against MI CATS Tar Sands Protestors!

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Jack and Al Post Pre-Trial

Victory: Anti-Tar Sands’ Protesters Fought the Law and Won!    

Oakland County, Michigan- September 11, 2014 After their wrongful arrest during a July protest, charges against environmental activists Al Smith and Jake McGraw have been dropped.

On July 24th in memory of the 2010 Tar Sands disaster in the Kalamazoo River, over 20 protesters gathered for an afternoon of speeches, music, and, resistance to the controversial Enbridge line 6B. During the protest Al Smith and Jake McGraw were wrongfully arrested on the Polly Ann Trail outside of a Precision Pipeline staging area in Oxford, adjacent to Lakeville Elementary School. They were taken into custody and charged with failure to obey a police command and mass picketing. This morning both charges were dismissed in Rochester Hills District Court.

“It is a clear conflict of interest for a corporation such as Enbridge to contract local police forces as their private security guards. The dismissal of our charges is evidence of this conflict. We were acting within our first amendment rights to peacefully protest. We were wrongfully arrested in violation of our civil rights. I was assaulted by a security guard that day. Today, we were vindicated thanks to the commitment to justice by our National Lawyers’ Guild attorney Denise Heberle.” Jake McGraw, from Hartland Michigan.

Enbridge continues to wreak havoc on the environment. After their 2010 Tar Sands disaster, when over one million gallons of tar sands oil spewed into the Kalamazoo River, Enbridge has been expanding the leaky pipeline 6B and more than doubling its capacity, all under the guise of piecemeal repairs to avoid a more thorough and inclusive permitting process. The expansion is a part of the dubious Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion project. If the Alberta Clipper is approved, Enbridge intends to pump 800,000 barrels of tar sands through the Great Lakes per day. Tar sands oil is one of the planet’s dirtiest sources of energy and Enbridge has a long history of neglect and resulting spills, placing communities all along the pipeline routes at risk of another disaster.

The men are members of a larger coalition called the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS), the coalition is composed of survivors of the 2010 spill, affected residents, and, concerned citizens from across the Great Lakes region. MI-CATS is a part of a grassroots push to halt all tar sands pipelines, stop climate change, and protect fresh water for generations to come.