SEMINOLE — 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.
“We're through with appealing to a broken political system that has consistently sacrificed human and nonhuman communities for the benefit of industry and capital.”
Ten people were arrested in Monday's protest. None of the group's previous protests involved more than two people at a time, although multiple people were arrested on several other occasions.
Developer TransCanada said the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is about 80 percent complete, will be in service by the end of the year.