The Trump regime is doing worse than nothing: rolling back the tepid regulations the Obama administration brought to bear and yanking the US out of a world agreement, the Paris Accords, is exacerbating the problem. Rick “Never-met-an-oil-well-I-didn’t-like” Perry serves as Secretary of Energy, and Scott “That-pollution-smells-like-money-to-me” Pruitt is running the Environmental Protection Agency—into the ground. Trump promises to bring back dirty coal. It is satanic, frankly, with zero regard for future generations, for the children of the world. Who will confront this man without any discernible conscience?
Michael Foster, Leonard Higgins, Ken Ward, Emily Johnston, and Annette Klapstein will. They have.
I attended Michael’s trial as much as possible, although I couldn’t be in the room in the beginning because I was scheduled as an expert witness, and we were sequestered until we testified—or until the judge disallowed us...which she did.
Michael was facing 23 years in prison on four charges. Three of us were there to provide expert testimony in three topic areas to help the judge and jury understand why Michael should be acquitted. Two of us were there to speak to different aspects of nonviolence and one was on hand to speak about the urgency of a rapid change in our general habits and a specific exam of the dirty tar sands oil that flows through the Keystone pipeline. Climatologist James Hansen is 76 years old and is the one who announced, “global warming has arrived” in 1988 when he worked as a scientist at the Goddard Space Center. Every single prediction he made then has come to pass. He is arguably the world’s top scientist in that area--certainly the most famous. He’s Trump’s age, only with a long-view conscience and integrity.
The court could not be bothered to listen to this eminent scientist, someone who could have helped the judge and jury become familiar with the emergency that we see unfolding all over nowadays, made much worse by the dirtiest sort of fossil fuel—tar sands oil.
The contempt for anyone coming to North Dakota to “tell us how to live” (the prosecutor’s attack on Michael, who is now from Seattle) was palpable. The judge allowed the prosecution’s expert witness, demonstrating some spectacular inconsistency and hypocrisy. As one who woke up a few times to unbreathable air and everything in my town covered in forest fire ash, I say to North Dakotans, you need to fix this. We will do our part but you need to do yours. Most of us know at least one or two people in Houston, or in the Santa Rosa area, or in Miami or Puerto Rico. Are we Americans who value all other Americans or are we not?
But the prosecutors were dismissive. Foster only faces 23 years, why give him a chance to reason with jury members? Let’s not confuse them with the facts.
The trial in tiny Cavalier, North Dakota, in remote Pembina County, was heartbreaking.
Note: On February 6th, Judge Laurie A. Fontaine sentenced Foster to three years in prison, including two years deferred. He was taken into custody and began serving his sentence that day.