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Climate Activist Buries Arm in Concrete Block to Halt Keystone XL

'Red River Showdown' week of action takes on toxic tar sands

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Fitzgerald on site (Photo: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance)An innovative climate activist in Oklahoma temporarily shut down construction on the Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday morning after locking his arm into a concrete capsule buried directly in the pipeline’s path, according to the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance.

The man, 42-year-old Fitzgerald Scott, was extracted by emergency crews and taken into police custody.

The group, which tracked developments throughout the morning, posted this update:

UPDATE 9:30 AM Work is still stopped on the easement due to the large amount of police and emergency equipment needed for extraction!  Show your support for Fitzgerald here!

The latest blockade comes as part of a week of action, titled the “Red River Showdown,” named after the river that marks the border between Oklahoma and Texas. The Red is a major tributary of the Mississippi and which opponents say would be gravely threatened if a tar sands spill was to occur.

"An undetected pinhole leak at this location would result in cancer causing chemicals to mix directly into the local community water table," said Scott in a statement.

“I am doing this for the people who don’t have the financial resources to protect themselves from a bully like TransCanada,” explained Scott. “Imagine how much worse it is for them – like the mostly African American neighborhood in Winona, TX, where protesters with the Tar Sands Blockade found holes in welds of the pipeline section that runs right behind a children’s playground, and neither TransCanada nor the government will do anything about it!”

George Daniel, spokesperson for Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance said, “Scott’s action sends a clear message: because every other avenue has failed to stop this deadly project, we will blockade – all summer and on into the fall, if that’s what it takes.”

The group adds:

Today’s action comes just a few weeks after the devastating tar sands spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, which has left communities across Oklahoma and Texas terrified that they may be the next victims of reckless industry practices. Survivors of the spill in Mayflower have reported nausea, blurred vision, vomiting, and black outs caused by the same blend of raw tar and poisonous chemical solvents that will be transported through Keystone XL.

Earlier this week, a 61-year-old man locked himself to a piece of construction equipment at a separate construction site, effectively shutting down operations there as well.

Construction on the southern portion of Keystone XL has reached nearly two thirds completion.

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