For Immediate Release
Ki Walker, 802-299-5128, GPTSRMedia@gmail.com
Fourth Generation Oklahoman Halts Construction On Keystone XL Easement
HUGHES COUNTY, OK - Bob Waldrop, 60, fourth generation Oklahoman and prominent Oklahoma City community member walked onto an active construction site for the Keystone XL pipeline in Seminole County and locked himself to an Excavator, a piece of heavy machinery used in the construction of the pipeline. Waldrop took a stand today in defense of the land and the human and non-humans that depend upon it to survive.
Waldrop, as a founding member of the Oscar Romero Catholic Workers House, is a part of Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a growing coalition of groups and individuals dedicated to stopping the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure throughout the Great Plains. His action follows an escalating number of work-stopping actions, of which there were five in April alone, in Oklahoma.
Raised on a farm in rural Oklahoma, Waldrop believes “All farmers know that if you don’t take care of your land, your land can’t take care of you. And I’m here today because this pipeline is an enormous attack on the land. Here in Oklahoma and all the way up the Great Plains and into Canada giant earthmoving machines are destroying ecosystems. They are uprooting trees, murdering birds and destroying habitat, killing little critters. They are trampling on the rights of Indigenous people of the area whose treaties are being violated and abrogated by the greed of TransCanada and its stockholders.”
“I’m here in part because of my religious faith. I’m a devout Roman Catholic, and I’m following in the example of Jesus himself who took a stand against every form of evil. Jesus set a model for all of us when he took a whip and drove the moneychangers out of the temple. I’m sure that was against the city ordinances of Jerusalem but he did not hesitate. I’m here today to show TransCanada that they can’t just run over everybody and the environment. There are people that are willing to stand up for their rights and the rights of the planet.”
Lifelong Oklahomans and Texans with Tar Sands Blockade (tarsandsblockade.org) and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance (gptarsandsresistance.org) have been constantly engaged in work stopping direct actions against the inherently dangerous KXL since August. The Keystone I, built in 2010, has spilt 17 times so far, including 12 in its first year of operation. The 2010 Kalamazoo river spill that has cost nearly a billion dollars in ongoing cleanup and the recent spill in Mayflower, AR that has left evacuated residents unable to return home nearly 6 weeks after the disaster show the dire consequences of inevitable spills of heavier than water bitumen diluted with a toxic cocktail including benzene.
There is staunch resistance to the expansion of Tar Sands mining and infrastructure growing on the heartland, long considered a sacrifice zone by the petro-chemical industry. The rise of Idle No More in defense of indigenous sovereignty across Turtle Island is in large part to protect lands and waters from toxic industries. Peoples of the Great Sioux Nation and tribal governments in “South Dakota” have avowed opposition to the Keystone XL, joining international treaties such as the Mother Earth Accord and Protect the Sacred. The Unis’tot’en Camp in northern B.C has entered the third year of their blockade of the Pacific Trails Pipeline, and a growing grassroots coalition in Utah has avowed to stop the first Tar Sands Mine in “The United States”. Many of these groups have banded together to usher in a #Fearless Summer, a coordinated direct action initiative against industrial extraction.
Updates, photo and video here.
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Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance is a coalition of Great Plains organizations and individuals dedicated to using direct action to stop tar sands extraction and transportation infrastructure, like the Keystone XL pipeline, in the beautiful heartland of North America.