This morning, ten people with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance were arrested blockading the construction of a Keystone XL pump station in Oklahoma. Meanwhile, dozens with the Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands stopped dump trucks in their tracks from adding to the massive mound of toxic petcoke, a byproduct of tar sands mining, that’s piling up along the Detroit River. And in Marshall, Michigan, a brave activist climbed into a segment of Enbridge pipeline to protest the pipeline giant’s failed clean-up of the biggest tar sands spill in U.S. history in Kalamazoo, MI — and its plans to expand construction on the very pipeline that spilled.
Read more about each of these actions below and follow the links to keep up to date as details continue to unfold, and stay tuned to #FearlessSummer for news and updates on all of this week’s action.
Construction of Keystone XL pump station shut down in largest action yet by the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance.
Reposted from 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 to 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.
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.
Activist has Climbed Inside Enbridge Tar Sands Pipe in Michigan
Early this morning Chris “The Whammer” Wahmoff climbed inside a segment of Enbridge’s Line 6B Pipe south of Marshall, Michigan, to halt reconstruction of the line. Chris used a skateboard to slide-crawl his way deep into the pipe, where he has said he is prepared to stay until at least 5:00 PM tonight. Chris is part of the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS), a grassroots group that seeks to stop all transportation and refining of tar sands in Michigan, and advocates against tar sands production and transportation everywhere.
Chris is positioned less than half a mile from where the Enbridge Line 6B pipeline broke in 2010, spilling bituminous sands oil into the Kalamazoo River. The oil was being transported through the pipeline from Canada to the United States. Recent water samples have shown that the river is still contaminated, some three years after the spill occurred, yet Enbridge is already at work reconstructing this stretch of the line. Chris’s action is an attempt to halt construction, and bring attention to the fact that Enbridge is moving on with this dangerous project without having cleaned up the spill from the previous line.
Police and firefighters are on the scene, but are reportedly having a difficult time figuring out how to remove Chris from the pipe. Fire fighters have said they are worried about Chris getting enough oxygen, and have a fan blowing into the pipe to give him fresh air. Here is Chris’s statement about the action:
I, Chris Wahmhoff, write this personal statement of civil disobedience, on june 24th, 2013. This is also my 35th birthday, and wish for a future for my friends, family, and their children. I wish that as we are taken to jail, someone else will rise and proclaim, China’s oil will not pass through 6b any longer.
I beg in this statement that people do not listen to what they are told, including myself. But learn for themselves how many have died. Learn that they made laws like H.B.5555, to hide that people get hurt, that with fracking and this gas and oil extraction harms us all.
I give my freedom and am willing to give everything to ask you loud enough to simply beg “Please, help us.” My birthday wish is help for my community from the people, not the politicians, corporations, and large NGO’s who want money for themselves.
Detroiters Block Dock In Pet Coke Protest
Reposted from CBS Detroit
Protesters crowded an area near the Ambassador Bridge in southwest Detroit, Monday morning, loudly voicing their concerns about those massive piles of petroleum coke that line the Detroit River.
The group, the Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands, is protesting the piles of the substance nicknamed “pet coke” — a byproduct of oil refining used in energy production
The piles have been built up over the past couple months with the pet coke being brought by trucks loaded with material from the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in southwest Detroit.
The group spent the morning blocking the entrance way to the dock at the port near West Jefferson Avenue and Rosa Parks. For about three hour, two trucks waited to get through as protesters locked arm-in-arm to prevent it.
Police were the scene but took no action to remove the protesters and made no arrests.
The group says the piles are an eyesore and a health hazard.
Detroiter Andre Glen, who lives in a nearby apartment house, says he and his neighbors have been having respiratory problems due to thick black dust in the air.
He said they recently pinpointed the pet coke as the cause.
“We bought a humidifier and then we turned around and bought a purifier at the same time, and that helped us breath at night,” Glen told WWJ’s Ron Dewey. “But we did have issues breathing at night and we’d had no clue as to why.”
A few dozen protesters carried signs baring slogans including, “Clean air is a human right,” and “Murder” with an image of Marathon’s logo painted alongside.
The pet coke, when mixed with coal, is used as a low-cost fuel.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in the spring issued a report stating that the piles themselves do not present an immediate health threat.
Then, last week, Michigan U.S. Rep. Gary Peters said the department acknowledged that dust from the mounds appears “to be an issue during the loading of material onto freighters.”
They’re looking into it.