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For Immediate Release: ANTI-FRACKING ACTIVISTS ARRESTED ON “TERRORISM HOAX” CHARGES RELEASE STATEMENTS.
Contact: [email protected]
Oklahoma City, OK: On December 13th of last year, anti-fracking activists with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance staged a demonstration at the Devon Tower to protest the State of Oklahoma’s subsidizing of irresponsible and dangerous oil and gas extraction and the health effects that Devon’s practices have on communities in Oklahoma and elsewhere. Four were arrested—two for locking themselves inside a revolving door, and two for hanging a banner inside the (open to the public) atrium of Devon Tower. Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner, the two Oklahomans arrested for dropping the banner, were booked in on charges of “disorderly conduct,” “criminal trespass,” and “terrorism hoax”—the latter referring to a small quantity of glitter that fell off the banner. The escalated charge of “terrorism hoax” carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and serves to brand activists with the “terrorist” label to delegitimize real concerns for the health and safety of Oklahomans.
The charges against Stephenson and Warner are a part of a larger campaign to criminalize dissent—the Canadian-based corporation TransCanada has been meeting with local law enforcement, including the Oklahoma Fusion Center in April of 2013, and encouraging them to pursue terrorism charges for acts of peaceful protest. From journalist Will Potter: “TransCanada offers police a playbook on how to go after activists. The company suggests prosecuting using criminal trespass, criminal conspiracy, criminal instrument or device (the PVC pipe used for non-violent civil disobedience), grand juries, and “federal/state anti-terrorism statues [sic].””http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/transcanada-police-presentation-on-protests/7094/
“My intention on December 13th, in the tradition of Rev. Martin Luther King Junior was to ‘arouse the conscience’ of a state that refuses to provide storm shelters for children at public schools yet has the gall to pay out $645,000,000 in tax subsidies to the oil and gas industry the past three fiscal years,” says Stefan Warner, one of the Oklahoma City residents facing 10 years behind bars on possible “terrorism hoax” charges for a glittery banner.
[See also: http://okpolicy.org/unnecessary-and-unaffordable]
“I know what the water looks like after a frack site has wreaked its havoc, and I know what cancer looks like after the water has gone bad and the flares stop burning,” said Moriah Stephenson. “At every stage of the fracking process, there’s contamination. 93% of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing processes have been proven to damage health, and with the scale of fracking close to Oklahoma communities I’m worried for the health of folks who live nearby.”
[See also: http://www.catskillmountainkeeper.org/our-programs/fracking/whats-wrong-with-fracking-2/health-impacts/]
Stefan Warner’s statement can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1er7TE0
Moriah Stephenson’s statement can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1ghJrX5
Both Moriah and Stefan are available for comment and are willing to go on camera. Email [email protected] for photo requests.