Local Activists disrupt Devon Energy Board Member Robert Henry

Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance interrupted Devon Energy board member and president of Oklahoma City University Robert Henry as Henry emceed a book review event for  The Frackers by Gregory Zuckerman at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City. Reasons cited for the disruption were Devon Energy’s role in the controversial tar sands in Alberta, tar sands extraction’s connection to the Keystone XL, fracking in Oklahoma and abroad, and Devon’s membership in American Legislative Exchange Committee (ALEC).

Jay Fowler speaks critically of Robert Henry as Henry stands before him, arms crossed.

“No matter how many lies you tell, how many politicians you buy, how many skyscrapers you build, it will not wash away the oil you have spilled.” Local resident Jay Fowler said to Robert Henry.

This month news broke that Devon Energy recently applied for a permit to begin a new tar sands project, Walleye, in Alberta, Canada. The Beaver Lake Cree Nation and other First Nations stand at the frontline of Devon’s tar sands projects. Cancer blooms and loss of sustenance are among the numerous problems plaguing the First Nations.  In addition to the devastating effects on local communities, Devon Energy’s plan to increase tar sands production is a reminder that no consideration is being given to the effects of climate change.

A banner reading “Keep it out of the air! Leave it in the ground!” is displayed as people disrupt Robert Henry’s attempts to gain control of the situation.

“We can no longer ignore the damage being done by Devon Energy and the fracking industry to our homes, communities, and eco-systems.. As a lifelong resident of Oklahoma (and former industry worker), I believe it is high time for us to say goodbye to the greedy CEO’s and Presidents like Robert Henry and John Richels of Devon Energy and transition to a just, renewable economy.” – Eric Wheeler

Across the United States Devon Energy is a major playing in the phenomenon known as fracking. This extraction process uses toxic water to create fissures in bedrock miles beneath the surface. This practice has been linked to contaminated water, water depletion, earthquakes, illness, and large gas explosions.

ALEC is a right-wing legislative thiaaronwhatsupnk-tank that encourages public services to be privatized (i.e. schools, prisons). ALEC creates legislation that weakens worker’s rights, rolls back civil rights, and deregulates commerce in favor of large corporations. Disrupters believe that Robert Henry’s political legacy conflicts with the goals of ALEC, and see his appointment to the Devon Energy board as an attempt to create silence among Oklahoma progressives.

Before becoming president of Oklahoma City University, Robert Henry had served as Oklahoma Attorney General and as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. Often revered as the most influential Democrat in Oklahoma, Robert  Henry is educated enough to understand the science and risks of  climate change and the urgent need to immediately stop exploration and extraction of fossil fuels and shift to renewable energies, based in local economies.  Profits rather than a livable, vibrant planet are more important for Devon Energy and Robert Henry. According to Forbes, Robert Henry’s total compensation from Devon Energy in 2013 was $336,015.