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CONTACT: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance
George Mason, 415-754-3352
Two Local Oklahomans Shut Down Work at an Active Keystone XL Construction Site in Holdenville, Oklahoma
Holdenville, Hughes County Oklahoma - May 14 - Early this morning Bailey and Holly, both of whom are local Oklahomans and Cross Timbers Earth First!ers, walked onto an Keystone XL active construction site in Hughes County, Oklahoma and locked themselves to concrete filled barrels obstructing the use of heavy machinery used in the construction of the pipeline.
Bailey and Holly are part of Cross Timbers Earth First! , a regional chapter of the Earth First! movement, which has been carrying out ecological direct actions for over 30 years. According to its members, Cross Timbers Earth First! also endorses 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.This action builds on an escalating number of actions, which have stopped work along the pipeline in Oklahoma: There were five different actions throughout April and today’s action marks the second in May. Bailey and Holly’s action follow yesterday’s action of Bob Waldrop, 60, who locked himself to a Keystone XL excavator on Monday.
Holly stated “I only learned what Tar Sands are less than a few months ago. The majority of us in Oklahoma don’t even know this is happening. If more people knew the genocidal and ecocidal effects of tar sands extraction and the role Keystone XL plays in this cycle more people would be fighting it.”
“I am one of many people standing in solidarity with others,” explained Bailey. “My hopes are that my action will support those who are directly suffering as the result of tar sands exploitation and to raise awareness and consciousness surrounding the construction of tar sands infrastructure.”
Lifelong Oklahomans and Texans along with Tar Sands Blockade
(tarsandsblockade.org) and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance
(gptarsandsresistance.org) have been using direct action to stop work on KXL construction sites since last August. The southern segment of The KXL is currently being built through both states under the title, “The Gulf Coast Project”. The pipe will transport diluted bitumen, or “Tar Sands” to refineries in the gulf coast.
The bitumen is the same substance that was being transported through Exxon’s Pegasus line that recently spilt in Mayflower, Arkansas, causing evacuations of entire neighborhoods.
The Great Plains has long been considered a “sacrifice zone” by the petro-chemical industry but today a staunch resistance is growing in response to the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure. Holly and Bailey are part of an ongoing wave of local Oklahomans who have been resisting the KXL by has using direct action. Yet, local Oklahomans explain they aren’t only resisting the KXL but resisting the apathy that has existed for too long in the face of these destructive petro-chemical industries. Bailey explained, “ I am blockading tar sands because I am blockading indifference. I am blockading passivity.”
From the growing indigenous resistance that is fomenting against the KXL across the plains to the newly formed Cross Timers Earth First in Oklahoma, the heartland is now firmly refusing the idea of a “sacrifice zone.”
Today’s action is a part of a broader struggle happening across so-called North America. New connections and coalitions are being made as the movement for indigenous sovereignty and against extraction gains momentum. From the Idle No More Movement, to the three year long- Unis’tot’en Camp blockade of the Pacific Trails Pipeline, to the newly forming coalition in Utah, determined to stop the first Tar Sands Mines proposed for “The United States”, many are banding together to call for a #Fearless Summer and a #Sovereignty Summer. Both call for coordinated direct actions against industrial extraction and for indigenous sovereignty.
For Photos: http://gptarsandsresistance.org/