Last Thursday several people appeared at the Okfuskee County Courthouse in Okemah, Oklahoma to support Elisabeth as she went to trial. People nervously awaited trial in the hallway, some folks talked to individuals from Bikers Against Child Abuse, and others helped Elisabeth practice pronouncing some hard words from her statement.
Leading up to the trial, Elisabeth and her attorney Doug Parr had made several trips to Okfuskee County for arraignments, hearings, etc. From the day she was arrested last February until the day of her trial, even when faced with time in the county jail, Elisabeth refused to give in. Elisabeth was determined to take her case to trial, hoping to mount a necessity defense to highlight the many egregious social and ecological problems associated with tar sands. From extraction to transportation to refining, Elisabeth’s statement goes farther than the conventional discourse associated with the Keystone XL. Never the less, Elisabeth didn’t go to trial. The prosecutor in this case reportedly said this trial would be a waste of the state’s resources. We were informed ten minutes before trial was scheduled to begin that the case had been dismissed. Slightly disappointing but better than a guilty conviction!
Elisabeth put a lot of time and work into preparing her statement. You can read the full statement here. Elisabeth’s statement is a glaring example of the reality that resisting resource extraction is not a wild idea, rather resisting resource extraction is an act of basic human decency:
“I was taught to leave my surroundings and the world in as good as or better shape than it was before I entered into it.”
– Elisabeth Leja