Tag Archives: kalamazoo

Michigan Tar Sands Pipeline Protester Could Get Two Years in Jail

2 Sep

remember-the-kalamazoo-signby John Upton / Grist

One oil spill in his community was more than enough for Kalamazoo resident Christopher Wahmhoff.

To protest Enbridge’s replacement of the pipeline that burst along a Michigan riverbank in 2010, Wahmhoff spent 10 hours of his 35th birthday inside the new pipe, slowing construction for a single day in June. [SeeActivist Has Climbed in Enbridge Tar Sands Pipe in Michigan” for the story.]

Now Wahmhoff, a member of the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands [aka MI-CATS], has been charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor, charges that could see him put behind bars for more than two years.

“It was worth it, without a doubt,” he told the Battle Creek Enquirer on Tuesday following a preliminary hearing before a district judge. “We got awareness out.”

The prosecutorial overreaction is all the more striking because of the peacefulness of Wahmhoff’s protest. Though he refused to come out of the pipeline until 5 p.m., Sheriff Department Detective Steve Hinkley told the court, “He was very cooperative.”

Wahmhoff’s wrongdoings certainly pale in comparison to Enbridge’s. When the company’s improperly maintained pipeline ruptured in 2010, it led to the nation’s largest-ever onshore oil spill. More than a million gallons of goopy, toxic tar-sands oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River and a tributary, and up to 180,000 gallons are still contaminating the river bottom today. So who’s the criminal here?

Enbridge Oil Spill Whistle-Blower Trial Updates

25 Apr

 July 2010, more than a million gallons of tar sands crude spilled into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. This is the largest inland spill in US History. A fired cleanup worker with a dark past claims he was ordered to cover up oil to meet federal deadlines. His case went to trial last week.

Even today two years later, one can still scoop up handfuls of Tar Sands Oil from the marshlands surrounding the river. The communities living around the river are still sick with nerve damage and other illnesses related to the chemicals diluting the Tar Sand Oil. Enbridge still claims the river is clean.

On Earth covers the story of the Enbridge spill, and its attempted cover up in a four part series. Click here for the full series.