Oklahoma: Two Activists Lockdown to Protect Cross Timbers from Tar Sands

tejasTwo Protesters Lock Themselves to Equipment to Protect the Cross Timbers from Tar Sands

Press Contact: Eric Whelan, gptsrmedia@gmail.com, 405-863-2888

Monday, April 29th: Spaulding,OK Earlier this morning two Texas residents locked themselves to machinery being used to construct TransCanada’s dangerous and controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Spaulding, OK through Muscogee Creek Nation land by treaty. Benjamin Butler and Eamon Treadaway Danzig took action today to prevent the Cross Timbers bioregion from being poisoned by this inherently dangerous tar sands pipeline, just as the surrounding wetlands and residential areas have been poisoned as a result of Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline rupture near Mayflower, Arkansas. The Gulf Coast Project is the Southern segment of TransCanada’s 7 billion dollar Keystone XL pipeline, which is slated to transport toxic diluted bitumen from Cushing, OK, to Gulf Coast refineries in Houston and Port Author. Recent Tar Sands spills in Minnesota and Arkansas, as well as an explosion at a Tar Sands refinery in Detroit have highlighted the urgency in stopping Tar Sands extraction and transportation.

Butler and Danzig are acting as a part of Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a growing coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to stopping the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure throughout the Great Plains. Their actions follow the escalating number of work-stopping actions that have occurred in Oklahoma this past month.  Both anti-extraction activists cite concern of the effect a spill will have in the Cross Timbers bio-region that they call home. Their action comes in the wake of the rupture of Exxon-Mobile’s Pegasus pipeline which spilled Tar Sands bitumen in neighboring Mayflower, Arkansas. In addition to the high rates of sickness that the surrounding community displayed, the spill in Arkansas has polluted Lake Conway and has had devastating effects on local wildlife. The permanent effect on people’s livelihoods and the health of affected ecosystems remains to be seen.

“This pipeline is essential for continued tar sands exploitation which poses an imminent threat to the health of indigenous communities near the point of extraction, fence-line communities around the toxic refineries, and ultimately the health of every living being along the route,” said Benjamin Butler, who was born at Tinker Air force Base in Oklahoma. “I believe in a more beautiful world, one where the profits of a corporation don’t outweigh the health of the people and the planet.”

“These companies come through with false promises and leave sickness and devastation in their wake,” said Eamon Danzig of Denton, TX. “People in Mayflower experienced fainting, nausea, and nosebleeds from the benzene gas which separates from the diluted bitumen in a spill and hovers above the ground. Leaks, ruptures, and other accidents on tar sands pipelines are so commonplace and inevitable that I can’t let this pipeline be built through the Cross Timbers.”

The Tar Sands megaproject is the largest industrial project in the history of humankind, destroying an area of pristine boreal forest which, if fully realized, will leave behind a toxic wasteland the size of Florida. The Tar Sands megaproject continues to endanger the health and way of life of the First Nations communities that live nearby by poisoning the waterways which life in the area depends on. This pipeline promises to deliver toxic diluted bitumen to the noxious Valero Refinery at the front door of the fence-line community of Manchester in Houston.

Currently, there is staunch resistance to the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure—Lakota and Dakota peoples in “South Dakota” have sworn to protect their land and people from the Keystone XL, lifelong Oklahomans and Texans are consistently halting construction of the inherently dangerous Keystone XL, and the Unis’tot’en Camp has entered the third year of their blockade of the Pacific Trails Pipeline.

Protestor Locks Himself to Conference Equipment, Disrupts TransCanada Presentation At Oil Industry Gathering

ethan_loud

Ethan speaking to room full of fossil fuel profiteers

Houston, TX — February 28th, 2013, 1:45pm — a protestor with Tar Sands Blockade this afternoon locked his neck to a projector screen in the middle of a TransCanada presentation at the North American Crude Marketing Conference in Houston. In taking direct action, Ethan Nuss confronted in-person Paul Miller, TransCanada’s Executive Vice President of Oil Pipelines, and a ballroom of tar sands industry investors, demanding a halt to the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Nuss successfully disrupted the second annual conference hosted by Platts. Among other things, the gathering is intended for fossil fuel industry executives and their financial backers to collaborate on schemes to transport dirty and dangerous tar sands from Canada to the Gulf Coast so it can be refined and sold on the international market, thereby expanding the industry.

“TransCanada’s ‘business as usual’ spells death and destruction for our communities,” said Ethan Nuss. “My conscience won’t allow me to watch this multinational corporation and their profiteers poison impacted communities from here in Houston’s polluted East End to indigenous people at the point of tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada. This must stop.” Ethan further shares his reasons for taking direct action below:

At last year’s marketing conference, Paul Miller explained the necessity of the southern leg of Keystone XL through Oklahoma and Texas to the expansion of the exploitative tar sands industry. TransCanada’s own fourth quarter report, released last week, revealed that the controversial pipeline is less than half completed, despite the Canadian pipeline corporation’s previous projections for completion of the southern segment this April.

This revelation highlights that Tar Sands Blockade’s sustained civil disobedience campaign since last August has been successful in delaying Keystone XL construction. Today’s action is part of growing momentum for an upcoming national week of action called for by Tar Sands Blockade and allies from March 16-23, with over 60 actions currently reported nationwide.

“This is just a morsel of what TransCanada and other tar sands profiteers can expect in the coming weeks and months,” said Kim Huynh, a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade. “All over the country, communities are gearing up to take to the streets, offices, extraction sites and public events to show that our movement won’t relent until we’ve made this investment as toxic for TransCanada and its financial backers as the very tar sands being piped through Keystone XL. Our tar sands-free future begins now.”

Earlier this week, 20,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into Otter Creek in Tyler County, TX from a pipeline owned by Sunoco Logistics. Otter Creek flows into Russell Creek, which feeds the Neches River. The leak did not trigger Sunoco’s detection systems but was discovered by local residents reporting oil in their water.

Controversial Oil Pipeline Lawsuit Settled in Texas

For Immediate Release

January 24, 2013

Contact:

Kerul Dyer, 415-866-0005

Lauren Regan, 541-687-9180

Controversial Oil Pipeline Lawsuit Settled in Texas

Determined activists to press on with resistance to pipeline construction

Eugene, OR–Twenty-nine individuals and organizations named in a civil lawsuit filed by the notorious Canadian pipeline company, TransCanada, agreed under duress today to settle, under threat of expansive injunction terms. The far-reaching Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) was filed on the heels of record numbers of non-violent protests in Texas opposing the controversial XL Pipeline construction.

A SLAPP is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.In this case, named defendants, Tar Sands Blockade, Rising Tide North America and Rising Tide North Texas agreed to settle the unconscionable SLAPP suit filed against them by a profiteering multinational Canadian corporation.

Under threat of far more draconian injunction terms, the parties signed a settlement that enjoins those parties from trespassing or causing damage to Keystone XL property including the easements within private property boundaries, often acquired by TransCanada by taking advantage of impoverished property owners within the States of Texas and Oklahoma.

“This is a David versus Goliath situation, where an unethical, transnational corporation is using its weight to crush First Amendment rights of people speaking out and resisting the irreparable destruction that will result from construction of this highly controversial XL Pipeline.” said Lauren Regan, veteran attorney with the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) who coordinates legal representation for the grassroots network of activists subject to the lawsuit. “But the resistance to the pipeline is growing, not shrinking; it’s coming from everywhere.  This is a national and global issue that will effect us all.”

Today’s SLAPP lawsuit controversy comes amid a heated national debate about the construction of the full Keystone XL pipeline, which if completed could transport 1.1 million gallons of oil through America’s heartland every day. The portion of the pipeline stretching from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Texan Gulf Coast is known as the XL Pipeline (or Gulf Coast pipeline). If both the northern Keystone portion and the remaining XL Pipeline were constructed, Canadian tar sands oil would be transported to the Gulf Coast.

“TransCanada’s lawyers, guns and money aren’t going to extinguish the rising momentum of resistance from the Gulf Coast to Alberta’s tar sands against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Scott Parkin of Rising Tide North America. “Climate change is the most critical issue of our time. Compromised institutions advancing vulgar systems of fossil fuel exploitation will not deter our resolve.”

Tar sands oil may be the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet. According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, producing a barrel of tar sands oil creates three to four times more climate pollution than the equivalent amount of crude produced in Canada or the US. In February, leading environmental organizations including the Sierra Club will push for mass civil disobedience against the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and further extraction of the Alberta tar sands oil.

“Despite the impacts that the new oil pipeline will have on our climate and our health, activists resisting the pipeline must endure physical harm, lengthy incarcerations and felony charges – and now civil lawsuits, at the hands of TransCanada,” continued Regan. “The people have not been deterred by the company’s attempt to restrict their right to protest, however, it has only emboldened their convictions.

In addition to the civil lawsuit, TransCanada has allegedly and repeatedly violated the law by obtaining “common carrier” status in Texas to force acquisition of private property, often from low-income families. Eyewitness accounts also suggest that representatives of the pipeline company even encouraged police officers to use controversial pain compliance technologies like tasers and chemical weapons like mace against non-violent activists.

The CLDC provides pro bono legal representation to activists like those in Texas resisting the construction of the new section of pipeline. The organization helps coordinate attorneys and their allies to defend civil liberties of citizens and offers legal rights workshops for activists across the country.

“At each attempt TransCanada makes to chill the citizens’ rights to protest the XL Pipeline, the people’s lawyers will stand up to defend them in court,” said Lauren Regan. “The survival of our species in the wake of global climate change deserves nothing less.”

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The Civil Liberties Defense Center focuses on defending and upholding ?civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, and legal support and assistance. http://cldc.org

 

More Than 100 Protesters Take Over TransCanada’s Keystone XL Offices in Houston

*More Than 100 Protesters Take Over TransCanada’s Keystone XL Offices in Houston*
MEDIA RELEASE: Jan 7, 2013

Contact: Kim Huynh, Tar Sands Blockade, 940-268-5375,
kxlblockade@gmail.com<https://fruiteater.riseup.net/sm/src/compose.php?send_to=kxlblockade%40gmail.com>

Liveblog and photos:
http://tarsandsblockade.org/houston-action-transcanada-offices

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*Tar Sands Blockade Proclaims Next Phase of Organizing with Largest-Yet Action*
*HOUSTON, TX, JANUARY 3, 2013 12:00PM*: Over 100 blockaders stormed the
lobby of TransCanada’s Keystone XL office in Houston this morning.
Protesters danced, spilled black ‘tar sands’ balloons and hung neon orange
hazard tape to highlight the deadly effects of TransCanada’s corporate
greed on communities and ecosystems.

After being forced out of the lobby by police, the protesters gathered on
the sidewalk and performed street theatre in which a “pipe dragon” puppet
destroyed homes and poisoned water until being slain by knights
representing the grassroots coalition of Tar Sands Blockade, Idle No More,
Earth First and others.

Today’s action was the largest yet in the months-long campaign by climate
justice organizers and Texas landowners against the pipeline and the first
mass action in Houston targeting TransCanada corporate offices directly. It
kicks off a new phase of Blockade organizing, targeting the corporate,
political and financial infrastructure behind the Keystone XL pipeline with
solidarity actions planned across the country this week, including in
Austin, Detroit and New York City.

Activist collective Anonymous today released the personal information of
TransCanada executives and Keystone XL’s financial backers in solidarity
with the launch of the Blockade’s new strategy phase. Protesters are
currently chained together and actively occupying TransCanada’s offices
near Boston.

“From the Texas backwoods to the corporate boardrooms, the fight to defend
our homes from toxic tar sands will not be ignored,” said Ramsey Sprague, a
Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “We’re here today to directly confront the
TransCanada executives who’re continuing on with business as usual while making
our communities sacrifice zones.”

Last Thursday, a tree blockade near Diboll, TX brought TransCanada’s
illegal practices to light, showing that they hadn’t received permission
from the county commissioner to build the pipeline through county land.

In addition to land and water concerns, the Keystone XL pipeline is a
classic case of environmental racism. In Houston, the low-income
neighborhoods near refineries, such as Manchester, whose residents are 90%
Latino, will have to breathe the noxious wastes of the tar sands refining
process.

“We’ve done everything we can to stop this pipeline: we’ve petitioned,
rallied and taken direct action. The historic resistance to this pipeline
shows how risky an investment this and other tar sands pipelines have
become,” said Alec Johnson, one of the office blockaders. “Tar sands oil
spilling into our waterways and millions of tons of carbon pollution
spilling into the atmosphere means that this industry’s days are numbered.”

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Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and
climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience
to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. For
more information visit tarsandsblockade.org or follow us at @KXLBlockade.