Three Lifelong Oklahomans Halt Construction of Keystone XL Work Site

UPDATE 10PM – Gwen, Eric, and Stefan have all been released. Thanks to everyone to contributed to our bail fund

UPDATE 1:45 PM- Gwen, Eric and Stefan have been booked into the Bryan County Jail. Initial Charges have been set.

The three protestors are all set to appear in court tomorrow at 2pm. Police charged Gwen with trespassing. Eric faces charges for trespassing and obstructing a police officer. Stefan will face charges for obstructing a police officer and assaulting an officer. As this sequence demonstrates, the latter charge against Stefan is a police fabrication. The white shirt is Durant Fire Chief Roger Joines; the figure in black is Stefan.

 Please consider a generous donation to Gwen, Eric, and Stefan’s bail fund.

Gwen arrest

UPDATE 12:00 PM – Fire Department ladder truck has removed Eric — 3 arrests total

Police have arrested three blockaders who delayed Keystone XL construction for an entire morning in Bryan County, Oklahoma. All three arrested are lifelong Oklahomans; Gwen Ingram of Luther, Okla., 56, had locked herself to heavy machinery, Eric Whelan, 26, who grew up in McLoud, Okla., was on a tower 40 feet off the ground in the middle of the KXL construction site, and Stefan Warner, a youth paster who had previously shut down another KXL construction site on February 11th.

Please consider a generous donation to Gwen, Eric, and Stefan’s bail fund.

Reports from the scene are that the Durant Fire Department was careless in their removal of Eric. The ladder on the truck  bumped repeatedly against support lines that were holding up Eric’s tower.

Eric extraction

UPDATE 11:45 AM- Police have arrested Stefan Warner who attempted to stop the Fire Dept ladder truck from removing Eric 

The Durant Fire Department arrived with an ambulance and a ladder truck to remove Eric from his perch on a tower 40 feet off the ground in the middle of the KXL construction site. In an attempt to prevent them from removing his friend, Stefan Warner tried to lock himself to the ladder truck with a bicycle lock. The Durant Fire Chief tackled Stefan and threw him over a ditch where the police promptly arrested him.

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Assualt on Stefan

See more high res photos on our Flickr account.

UPDATE 11:15 AM- Firefighters have extracted Gwen Ingram from the construction machinery.  Gwen held strong in her nonviolent civil disobedience act for several hours.

Gwen Extraction

UPDATE 10:30 AM – Firetruck on the way. Police have blocked the road and are turning back locals trying to get through.

UPDATE 10:00 AM – Police and ambulance on scene. Not sure why the ambulance is here; nobody is hurt. A dozen workers and half a dozen police officers also on scene.

UPDATE 9:00 AM - Eric is holding strong on a tower 40 feet off the ground in the middle of the Keystone XL construction site

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Construction SceneSee more high res photos on our Flickr account.

UPDATE 8:30 AM – Gwen is locked to KXL heavy machinery in solidarity with those affected by toxic tar sands spills

Gwen’s is holding strong and displaying a sign calling on others to remember the Kalamazoo tar sands spill and protect the all the rivers that are threatened by Keystone XL’s toxic path.

Gwen Locked Down
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Oklahoma Native Eric Whelan before his direct action in Bennington, Oklahoma

Oklahoma Native Eric Whelan before his direct action in Bennington, Oklahoma

BRYAN COUNTY, OK – Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 8:00AM – Two lifelong Oklahomans have effectively halted construction on an active work site for TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Bennington, Oklahoma.

Eric Whelan, 26, who grew up in McLoud, Okla., has ascended 40 feet into the air in an aerial blockade that began at dawn this morning.

Gwen Ingram of Luther, Okla., 56, has locked herself to heavy machinery and shut down the construction site.

Today’s event marks the fourth act of civil disobedience by Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and comes in the wake of the disastrous tar sands pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas.  For the last three weeks, over 300,000 gallons of tar sands diluted bitumen have spilled into a residential neighborhood and local waterways.

“Keystone XL sounded like a bad idea from the beginning,” explained Whelan. “The Mayflower spill proves that we shouldn’t be trusting these multi-national corporations, like Exxon or TransCanada, because every spill further exposes their criminal incompetence. Now, TransCanada wants to build a toxic pipeline through the center of the country.

“I’m taking action to prevent a tragedy like that from happening in Oklahoma.”

The tar sands’ corrosive nature makes pipelines more prone to leaks than transporting crude oil, as evidenced by the Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline burst in Mayflower, Ark.

Luther resident Gwen Ingram before her direct action in Bennington, Oklahoma.

Luther resident Gwen Ingram before her direct action in Bennington, Oklahoma.

When spills inevitably do occur, the heavier diluted bitumen sinks in water and into the water table. Keystone XL’s proposed route cuts through the heartland of North America, crossing the Arbuckle Simpson and Edwards Trinity Aquifer in Oklahoma.

“The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would carry the dirtiest fuel on the planet from Canada to America’s Gulf Coast’s refineries and ports, and then overseas for export,” said Gwen Ingram, before locking herself to TransCanada’s heavy machinery.

“I simply won’t allow this pipeline to cross our precious rivers; the North and South Canadian, The Red River, The Cimmaron and threaten our drinking water.”

35 thoughts on “Three Lifelong Oklahomans Halt Construction of Keystone XL Work Site

  1. The wise must stand up to the foolish who always think in terms of being penny wise and pound foolish.

  2. All my support goes out to you both. As a Canadian resident I am horrified that a country full of such wild beauty is hell-bound on making a quick buck and ransackign it’s best resource, nature.

    Fight the power!

  3. As a fellow life-long Oklahoman, I support these people 100 percent. Thank you, Eric Whelan and Gwen Ingram for your courage to do what’s right for our state, our people, and future generations to come.

  4. GOOD JOB!!!!! Keep up the good work, we are fighting the pipeline here in every way possible!!! Thank you!!!

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  8. Pingback: Get Off the Pipe: Tar Sands Resistance in Oklahoma | The Harbinger

  9. 77 year oldgrandmother cheering from the smallest state Rhode Island. Go Team Go! Keep tar sands in Canada too many oil spills.

  10. I am so impressed by the actions of these brave activists! As one who spent the first 40 years of her life in Oklahoma, I am awed by their integrity and fierceness of spirit in working toward preservation of the Earth. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of all life!

  11. These people are my heroes. I so wish I could physically do this, too, but I am too physically disabled. I’m especially proud of the older woman as I am 65. Bless all warriors against this pipeline!

  12. Congrats All from NC! My heart is with you on the brave quests! I am an older person and really not as spry as I was. But a question for anyone who knows…. Do they let you have your medication when you are arrested? Cause at some point I may have to join you and chain myself to something. Need to know ahead of time….

  13. Being an activist and taking a stand for a righteous minority against a large powerful majority takes incredible courage. We must support and encourage them. It may take a long time for the truth to be revealed. Until then the heroes may be prophets without honor in their own land.

  14. Where do we send money for the legal fund? Call Earthjustice or the Environmental Defense Fund too.

    • If you want to protect the north and south Canadian rivers why don’t you all come down to Byars and protest all the 4 wheelers and the people that are dumping their trash, beer cans and dogs in the river here

  15. Pingback: Root Force » Blog Archive » Lifelong Oklahoma Residents Lock Down Against Keystone Pipeline

  16. Whose bright idea is these ridiculous pipelines, that are ruining our lands? There was a oil spill in Arkansas, this was bad enough, and a good earthquake can jar loose these pipes, what the heck!! For those in charge of this idiotic pipeline, stop and think what you are doing to our lands…its bad enough we have global warning, you are helping kill the earth more and more….

  17. These people should be given Medals of Honor amongst non-military personnel for their dedication to protecting Mother Earth from this horrific atrocity that is Keystone XL. The tar sands of Alberta is one gigantic carbon bomb that could go off at any moment. The energy-intensive methods required to extract it releases far more CO2 into our atmosphere than conventional oil and eclipses all of our automobiles. If Keystone XL is compeltely and becomes fully operational, it is game over for climate change and we might as well prepare for the Great Plains to become uninhabitable desert wastelands. Not to mention all of the countless oil spills and hundreds of square miles of fouled land. How does any nation have a functioning economy in that? I fully support these people who are fighting tooth and nail against this unimaginably foolish ‘project’ and fighting for a better future for our children, grandchildren, and generations afterward.

  18. Movers and shakers, thank you for your fearless actions in the face of so much ignorance and opposition. These and similar actions don’t just have the immediate effect of shutting down operations, no matter how temporary those effects may be – they also garner media coverage that may help bring this and other issues to the attention of the general public, and inspire people who are already educated and concerned by such issues to take a stand and make a difference in their own communities. Thank you, truly.

  19. Pingback: Protesters Try Again to Stop Keystone Pipeline Construction | OK Energy Today

  20. Pingback: Protesters Try Again to Stop Keystone Pipeline Construction | OK Energy Today

  21. God speed to ALL who are fighting ALL tar sands pipelines, fracking, mountaintop removal, coal trains, coal ports, liquid natural gas shipping, GMO’s, GE crops, Frankenfish, toxic mining, nuclear power plants, deforestation for palm oil and paper, leveling acres of redwoods for a winery, coruption in our goverment, and the list goes on and on. God bless you all for taking a stand to protect mother earth!

  22. WE SHOULD ALL BE RIGHT NEXT TO YOU OVER LOADING THE BODIES TO STOP THIS. I WOULD BE IF I LIVED THERE.

  23. Pingback: Southwest Earth First!

  24. I’m a writer from Spokane, United States just submitted this to a coworker who is performing some sort of research on this. And she in fact ordered me lunch simply because I discovered it for her… lol. So allow me to paraphrase this…. Thanks for the meal… But anyways, thanks for taking some time to write about this subject here on your web site.

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