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Two Lifelong Oklahomans Halt Construction of Keystone XL Work Site

Our friends at Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance shut down work at a Keystone XL construction site for an entire morning! We’ve re-posted their action below but for more up-to-date info, check their website. Follow Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance live on their Facebook and Twitter, and sign up to join the resistance.
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UPDATE 12:00 PM – Fire Department ladder truck has removed Eric — 3 arrests total

Police have arrested three blockaders after they 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 repeatedly bumped up against Eric’s support lines that where holding up his tower.

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. Durant Fire Chief tackled Stefan and threw him over a ditch where he was promptly arrested by police.

Construction SceneSee more high res photos on their 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.

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.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/gptsr-4th-action/