Michigan Activist Skateboards into Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline

24 June 2013, Folks in Michigan took two actions today to help kick off the Fearless Summer week of action against energy extraction. From Fearless Summer: “The Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands (DCATS) turned away trucks adding petcoke (an extra-dirty coal-like waste product of tar sands refining) to an already-massive pile alongside the Detroit River. In Kalamazoo, a member of Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) skateboarded deep into the same Enbridge pipeline which spilled a million gallons of tar sands into the Kalamazoo river three years ago.”

UPDATE: Chris has been arrested and is in need of bail funds. Please donate to his bail fund here.

Early this morning Chris “The Whammer” Wahmoff climbed inside a segment of Enbridge’s Line 6B Pipe south of Marshall, Michigan, to halt reconstruction of the line. Chris used a skateboard to slide-crawl his way deep into the pipe, where he has said he is prepared to stay until at least 5:00 PM tonight. Chris is part of the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS), a grassroots group that seeks to stop all transportation and refining of tar sands in Michigan, and advocates against tar sands production and transportation everywhere.

Chris is positioned less than half a mile from where the Enbridge Line 6B pipeline broke in 2010, spilling bituminous sands oil into the Kalamazoo River. The oil was being transported through the pipeline from Canada to the United States. Recent water samples have shown that the river is still contaminated, some three years after the spill occurred, yet Enbridge is already at work reconstructing this stretch of the line. Chris’s action is an attempt to halt construction, and bring attention to the fact that Enbridge is moving on with this dangerous project without having cleaned up the spill from the previous line.

Police and firefighters are on the scene, but are reportedly having a difficult time figuring out how to remove Chris from the pipe. Fire fighters have said they are worried about Chris getting enough oxygen, and have a fan blowing into the pipe to give him fresh air.

Chris climbed into the pipe at the crossroads of the Enbridge Line 6B and Interstate 69, a location described as “poetic” by people on the ground.

MI-CATS has been able to stay in contact with Chris, who is doing fine and has plenty of food and water.

MI-CATS is holding an action camp in Southwest Michigan  from July 19 – 22 to gather support and stop tar sands. Check out their facebook page here to get involved. You can also donate to their wepay here.

P.S. Today is also Chris’s 35th birthday. Happy Birthday, Chris!