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Protesters try to block Keystone XL construction in Oklahoma

Oklahoma residents Eric Whelan and Gwen Ingram were arrested for trying to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in southern Oklahoma.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: April 16, 2013 at 7:43 pm •  Published: April 16, 2013

Two protesters were arrested Tuesday while trying to stop construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.

McLoud native Eric Whelan, 26, sat atop a 40-foot pole structure along the pipeline route in Bryan County, while Luther resident Gwen Ingram, 56, locked herself to a piece of construction equipment.

Both were arrested by noon, along with another protester at the site near Bennington, according to organizers.

Work was suspended as authorities tried to remove the protesters, but officials with developer TransCanada said work continued at other sites along the 485-mile pipeline route.

The pipeline is expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

Whelan and Ingram are part of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, which aims to prevent disasters like the recent pipeline spill in Mayflower, Ark.

Like the Exxon Mobil line that ruptured in Arkansas, the full Keystone XL pipeline would carry diluted bitumen from Canada's oil sands.

Crews are working on the southern leg, dubbed the Gulf Coast Project, after the Obama administration last year denied a permit for the transcontinental pipeline.

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