Mylene Vialard, a veteran activist and member of Boulder’s Police Oversight Panel, has been found guilty on a felony charge of obstructing the legal process in relation to her involvement in a protest against the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. Vialard, who had previously protested against the pipeline in 2019, returned to Minnesota to stand trial. The 1,097-mile Line 3 pipeline, owned by Enbridge Energy, runs through multiple states and close to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It has faced opposition from Indigenous groups and environmentalists due to the risk of oil spills and the impact on Indigenous lands and communities.
Throughout the trial, Vialard pointed out what she called “egregious” misconduct by the prosecution, including bringing up charges that weren’t being considered in her case and failing to provide requested evidence. Despite her guilty verdict, Vialard remains resolute in her mission to protect the environment. She sees the criminalization of activists as unjust, especially in the face of the ongoing crisis of climate change and the destructive practices of the fossil fuel industry.
While Vialard faces the possibility of imprisonment, she expressed her willingness to endure it again for the cause. She believes it is essential to bring awareness to the issue and inspire others to take action against destructive pipelines and other harmful industries. Vialard’s lawyer plans to appeal the verdict, citing prosecutorial misconduct during the trial.
- Line 3 pipeline: A 1,097-mile pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy that runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, passing through multiple states, including Minnesota.
- Water protector: An individual who engages in peaceful protest and activism to protect water sources and ecosystems from the damaging effects of industrial activities such as pipelines and extractive industries.
- Prosecutorial misconduct: Actions or behaviors by the prosecution that violate legal and ethical standards, such as withholding evidence, introducing irrelevant charges, or engaging in improper conduct during a trial.
- Fossil fuel industry: The sector involved in the extraction and production of coal, oil, and natural gas, which are considered major contributors to climate change and environmental degradation.
- Indigenous groups: Indigenous peoples who have historical and cultural ties to specific territories and are recognized as distinct political and social entities within those territories.
Sources: Original article sourced from Boulder Daily Camera