TEN PEOPLE ARRESTED. Please donate to their bail fund at http://gptarsandsresistance.org/donate/ and share this around. We managed to shut down the site until a volunteer firefighter reportedly injured one of the lockdowners while attempting to use the Jaws-of-Life to extract them. Folks soonafter unlocked out of concerns for their safety.
Scroll down for action updates throughout the day. You can also follow @gptarsandsresistance and @iamed_nc for updates.
BREAKING: Construction of Keystone XL pump station shut down in largest action yet by the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance.
Seminole, OK: Early this morning, eight individuals blocked construction of a pump station for TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on Seminole land-by-treaty by locking on to equipment in the largest action yet by the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance. The group took action today, physically halting the construction process, as a part of an effort to prevent the Great Plains from being poisoned by inherently dangerous tar sands infrastructure, as well as demonstrate the necessity for direct confrontation with industries that profit off of continued ecological devastation and the poisoning of countless communities from “Alberta, CA” to the Gulf. This action comes during the first day of a nationwide week of coordinated anti-extraction action under the banner of Fearless Summer.
“As a part of a direct action coalition working and living in an area that has been historically sacrificed for the benefit of petroleum infrastructure and industry, we believe that building a movement that can resist all infrastructure expansion at the point of construction is a necessity. In this country, over half of all pipeline spills happen in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Looking at the mainstream keystone opposition, this fact is invisible—just like the communities affected by toxic refining and toxic extraction,” said Eric Whelan, spokesperson for Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance. “We’re through with appealing to a broken political system that has consistently sacrificed human and nonhuman communities for the benefit of industry and capital.”
“The pipelines that poisoned the Kalamazoo River and Mayflower, Arkansas, were not the Keystone XL. Tar sands infrastructure is toxic regardless of the corporation or pipeline. For that reason we are opposed not only to the Keystone XL, but all tar sands infrastructure that threatens the land and her progeny,” said Fitzgerald Scott, who was arrested in April for locking his arm inside a concrete-filled hole on the Keystone XL easement, and locked to an excavator today. “While KXL opponents wait with baited breath for Obama’s final decision regarding this particular pipeline, other corporations, including Enbridge, will be laying several tar sands pipelines across the continent. The Enbridge pipelines will carry the same volumes of the same noxious substance; therefore, Enbridge should get ready for the same resistance.”
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.
There is staunch resistance to the expansion of Tar sands mining and infrastructure growing across the heartland of “North America,” in areas long considered sacrifice zones. Currently activists are occupying an Enbridge pump station in so-called “Ontario” to prevent the reversal of the Line9 pipeline. The rise of Idle No More in defense of indigenous sovereignty across Turtle Island is in large part to protect lands and waters from toxic industries, and peoples of the Great Sioux Nation and tribal governments across “South Dakota” are avowing their opposition to the northern segment of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
1PM: Bail has been set for 9/10 blockaders at $1,500, and $1,000 for the police liaison.
12noon:Fitzgerald’s injuries were not sufficient to prevent him from being returned to police custody. Martin, however, has called and notified us that he received a laceration when the Jaws-of-Life were being used to attempt to extract him. His arm is swelling up and he is attempting to get additional medical examination.
10:00AM: Nine confirmed arrests, police liaison is not accounted for. Earlier, police threatened him with kidnapping charges if he didn’t furnish keys to unlock remaining lockdowners. Will update when more news is available.
9:00AM: Remaining lockdowners have unlocked.
8:40AM: Jaws of life used again on folks locking down. Reports of blood, difficult to confirm. Reports of at least one injury. All four people locked down to excavator have unlocked out of concern for their safety. All four in custody, with Fitzgerald Scott in an ambulance.
8:20AM: Cops moved everyone but lockdowners down the road, having difficulty seeing folks locked down to the excavator. Sounds of angle-grinding have stopped, and it appears that folks are still holding strong.
8:00AM: After threatening to break blockaders arms with the jaws of life, firefighters are attempting to extract them using what sounds like an angle-grinder. Reports of screaming from folks on the road. No injuries reported yet. All lockdowners still holding strong!
7:20AM: Police trying to order everyone off-site, threatening arrest
7:10AM:Total of four Seminole County police officers on site.
6:15AM: One person arrested–not a lockdowner.