On November 7, 2016 more than twenty local watershed defenders went to a building owned and operated by Enbridge Energy in Marshall, Mi. We came to act in solidarity with the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, ND. We targeted Enbridge Energy due to the current process of purchasing a 27% equity stake in the Bakken Pipeline system, which includes the Dakota Access Pipeline. As a people who live in the Kalamazoo River Watershed we have taken notice that people all over this continent wish to avoid the experience we had with the massive oil spill in 2010 . We feel that our struggle at home is intrinsically tied to the fight against DAPL in Standing Rock.
The morning of the 7th began in a public park on the Kalamazoo River, at the site of a controversial dam that may be removed in the near future. 25-30 people slowly gathered near the dams impoundment on the river as a song for the water was sung by a local indigenous activist. Everyone self organized a carpool with friends and “strangers no more”. We left the river and headed for the industrial side of town expecting to interrupt the normal day of an Enbridge location.
When we arrived at 455 Leggitt Rd. (Marshall, Mi) we came to an empty building, an empty parking lot, and locked gates. Enbridge had closed down shop for the day. We were suspicious about this being real, because on November 1st there were numerous vehicles and a lot of activity seen at the warehouse. Curious as to why we arrived to a vacant parking lot, someone from the demonstration took time to drive by the site on a following Monday around the same time that the demonstration occurred. They found Enbridge parking lot and employees going about business as usual.
We didn’t take any risks or break any laws to shut them down. Simply announcing that we would be there, with the press, to stand in solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock was enough to close business for a day!
After the demonstration, we went on a tour of the Talmadge Creek. Beginning near the point of the Line 6b rupture and ending at the confluence with the Kalamazoo River, we saw the wetlands which had been polluted and dredged. Monitoring wells in these wetlands only exist near surface water and not from boundary to boundary.
Aside from shutting down Enbridge, people from across southern Michigan were able to connect, share stories, learn from the words spoken by local indigenous activists, and stand together as a community in solidarity. After the demonstration and creek tour, some continued on to another solidarity demonstration at Chase Bank in Kalamazoo later that same day (organized by Kalamazoo Stands with Standing Rock).
You can take action! This thing was organized via Facebook, banner making, and a write up sent out to the local press. Whether you are trying to get the word out about Enbridge’s potential stake in the project, or want to give Enbridge hell for considering it- DO IT! The pro industry narrative takes a blow, the industry takes a small hit, and the DAPL is slightly weakened every time people take a stand.
If you don’t live near an Enbridge work site or location- there are other options to target companies involved in the DAPL project at THIS WEBSITE!
There are many ways to support the fight on the front line. Educating your own community is very important. Getting needed supplies and funds to the many groups on the front line is crucial. Consider donating to the Water Protector Legal Collective (formerly Red Owl Legal Collective).
***Special note to Enbridge***- Many participants said they were a little bummed out at how tame the Against Enbridge, With Standing Rock! demo was. You told the news reporter that you would be willing to talk with people in the area. So,
we will be back.
We could show up anywhere you have people doing work, at anytime we feel compelled.
No Deal in the Bakken Field! Shut Down Line 5! Remember the Kalamazoo!