From Green Right Now Reports
Two Texas residents, acting as part of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, locked themselves to machinery today to protest construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma.
The two, Benjamin Butler and Eamon Treadaway Danzig, said they are trying to protect the Cross Timbers bioregion from being harmed by the tar sands that will flow through the pipeline, designed to carry diluted bitumen oil from tar sands mines in Canada to refineries in Texas. Both men were arrested about 9 a.m. and were expected to be charged with trespassing.
The protest action, just outside Spaulding, OK, is one of several that have taken place in Oklahoma and Texas along the southern segment of the pipeline, which has been permitted. Northern sections of the route have yet to received federal endorsement, though that approval could be imminent, based on favorable impact studies by the State Department.
Keystone protesters say the pipeline is too risky, because its carbon emissions would accelerate climate change and its hot, thick bitumen would contaminate land and water in the event of a leak.
TransCanada, the pipeline operator, maintains that the tar sands oil is best shipped from Canada via the pipeline, and petroleum interests say that world demand for oil makes the pipeline a necessity.
Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance has staged several protest actions, as has the Tar Sands Blockade, which actively fought construction of the pipeline in Texas over the winter.
In a statement, the coalition noted that the recent oil spill in Mayflower, AR, demonstrates how pipeline accidents ruin the land, contaminate lakes and cause human sickness.
“People in Mayflower experienced fainting, nausea, and nosebleeds from the benzene gas which separates from the diluted bitumen in a spill and hovers above the ground. Leaks, ruptures, and other accidents on tar sands pipelines are so commonplace and inevitable that I can’t let this pipeline be built through the Cross Timbers,” said Eamon Treadaway, of Denton, TX.
The Great Plains group also cited a desire to protect the Muscogee Creek Nation lands.
“This pipeline is essential for continued tar sands exploitation which poses an imminent threat to the health of indigenous communities near the point of extraction, fence-line communities around the toxic refineries, and ultimately the health of every living being along the route,” said Benjamin Butler, who was born at Tinker Air force Base in Oklahoma.
“I believe in a more beautiful world, one where the profits of a corporation don’t outweigh the health of the people and the planet.”