Oklahoma activist plans to keep opposing projects like Keystone XL

Activist Stefan Warner, 25, has been to jail twice for trying to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma, but he isn't backing down in the fight against development of Canada's oil sands.
by Jay F. Marks Published: June 21, 2013

The southern leg, dubbed the Gulf Coast Project, is about 80 percent complete, a project spokesman said Thursday. It is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Warner has been arrested twice since February while protesting construction of the pipeline in Oklahoma as part of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a loosely affiliated group opposed to Keystone XL and continued oil sands development.

“There's nothing else I can do but take direct action, so I did,” Warner said. “It felt great.”

Another protester, Oklahoma City resident Bob Waldrop, said it is important to protect the land so it can take care of the people who live on it.

“This pipeline is an enormous attack on the land,” he said in a video posted on the coalition's website in conjunction with his May 13 protest near Wewoka. “Giant earth-moving machines are destroying an entire ecosystem.”

More than a dozen people have been arrested along the pipeline's route across Oklahoma in the past several months.

TransCanada has filed a lawsuit in Atoka County to block further protests.

“We recognize and respect the rights of citizens to express their opinions on public property. However, that right does not allow them to break the law or risk the health and safety of others, including the men and women who are building the Gulf Coast Pipeline,” project spokesman Jim Prescott said Thursday. “When protesters staged their demonstrations on landowners' property and locked themselves to equipment, they were breaking the law by trespassing and jeopardizing their safety and the safety of the workers on site.”

Warner said he intends to continue working against the Keystone XL pipeline and other projects that would transport diluted bitumen from Canada.

He said the “resource extraction industry” is showing no signs of slowing down activities that are destroying planet so he plans to keep opposing them through direct action.

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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