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Keystone XL pipeline protesters stage largest action yet in Oklahoma

Eight people locked themselves to construction equipment and a work trailer Monday to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline near Seminole.
by Jay F. Marks Modified: June 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm •  Published: June 25, 2013

Protesters say they shut down construction of a pump station Monday near Seminole in what they are calling their biggest action yet in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Eight people locked themselves to equipment and a work trailer on the construction site east of Seminole early Monday morning, as activists across the country began a week of protests billed as “Fearless Summer.” All events are meant to protect the country from the ravages of “extreme energy,” which includes coal mining, oil and natural development and pipelines, the activists say.

A spokesman for the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, which organized Monday's protest, said four people who chained themselves to an excavator decided to abandon the protest for their own safety by about 9 a.m.

One of the protesters was examined at the scene before being taken to jail, while another was treated on-site for a laceration on his arm.

Organizers acknowledged Monday's protest against the Keystone XL pipeline likely was the last in Oklahoma, but the group will continue to fight against similar pipelines that carry diluted bitumen from Canada's oil sands.

“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,” spokesman Eric Whelan said. “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.

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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