SCHOOLTON — A youth pastor has been arrested after locking himself to a piece of construction equipment to protest the Keystone XL pipeline.
Harrah native Stefan Warner secured himself to a platform on a side boom Monday morning near Schoolton in Seminole County, said a spokesman with the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance.
Warner and seven others were arrested by midmorning, organizers said.
Developer TransCanada said the “momentary” protest did not disrupt construction of the Gulf Coast project, the southern leg of the transcontinental Keystone XL pipeline blocked by the Obama administration last year.
The 485-mile line will link Cushing's oil storage hub with refineries in the Houston area. Construction is expected to be completed by this summer.
Warner said he is concerned about the potential hazards that come with transporting diluted bitumen from Canada's oil sands, pointing to the 2010 oil spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River.
“I grew up in a town where the North Canadian River runs right through, and we can't let the North Canadian become another Kalamazoo,” Warner said in a statement.
“I figure folks have to take action to stop our beautiful Oklahoma from being marred by a foreign corporation, and stand up to fight big corporations who think that poisoning people and stealing land is acceptable so long as they make a profit,” Warner added.
Warner is the second person to try to halt the pipeline in Oklahoma by impeding construction.
Retired teacher Elisabeth Leja, of Norman, was arrested last week between Paden and Boley after locking herself to a track hoe. She faces a misdemeanor trespassing charge in Okfuskee County.