Breaking: Earth First! Activists Lock Down In Tar Sands Protest

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Activists lock down inside Devon Tower in protest of Tar Sands extraction and plans to frack the Eagle Ford Shale.

Six people have been released from police custody, bringing the total amount of folks arrested to four, with no word on charges. If you can donate to our bail fund please do at http://gptarsandsresistance.org/donate/

Tar Sands protest bannerOklahoma City, OK: Early Friday morning, two activists with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance (GPTSR) and Cross Timbers Earth First! locked themselves inside a revolving door at the Devon Tower in protest of Devon’s involvement in toxic tar sands extraction and fracking, as well as plans to increase fracking in the Eagle Ford Shale. Simultaneously, a banner displaying a Mockingjay from the popular Hunger Games series was unfurled from the second story, reading: “The Odds are Never in Our Favor.” Imagery from the Hunger Games was employed to highlight the parallel between industrial sacrifice zones in real life, and the resource colonies (Districts) that are subjected to state and economic violence in the series. This action coincides with two days of trial for folks in the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society who were arrested while preventing natural gas exploration on their traditional lands.

In 2010, Devon Energy’s Jackfish 1 facility on Beaver Lake Cree First Nations territory in Alberata, Canada experienced a failure at one of the wellheads. The failure sent a plume of bitumen-laced, high-temperature steam into the air for nearly 36 hours. Long seen as a responsible and benevolent corporate community member, Devon Energy is a key player in the deadly tar sands industry. And though Devon Energy has been touted as practicing the safest and greenest form of tar sands extraction, the form of extraction that Devon practices, steam assisted gravity drainage, emits 2.5x the greenhouse emissions as open mining according to the Pembina Institute. Additionally, since 80% of tar sands reserves lie too deep within the earth to mine, this type of extraction will utilize 30x more land area than open mining.

Tar sands protesters locked down“I’m opposed to the industry’s blatant disregard for human wellbeing in the pursuit of profit,” said Cory Mathis of Austin, TX—one of the activists locked down inside Devon. “These industries poison countless communities, often deceive and coerce folks into signing contracts, and when that doesn’t work, they use eminent domain to steal the land. Texas and Oklahoma have long been considered sacrifice zones for the oil and gas industry, and people have for the most part learned to roll over and accept the sicknesses and health issues that come with the temporary and unsustainable boost in employment.”

“I’m here to try to bring to light the damage being done by tar sands extraction and fracking. These companies have been deliberately hiding and suppressing information from the general public, all-the-while building their public image of being charitable and creating jobs. It’s the same story all the way from the Athabasca tar sands to the Gulf—we hear the ridiculous proposition that a company that routinely profits off of poisoning folks is somehow capable of being ‘philanthropic’,” said Caroline McNally, the other activist locked down.

CEO Jim Richels also sits on the board of TransCanada, the company who built the Gulf Coast Segment of the toxic Keystone XL, and whose Northern Segment is awaiting presidential approval.

Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a direct action collective, opposes all forms of Tar Sands exploitation, whether it be Trans Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline, Enbridge’s Flanagan South and Seaway Piplelines, or Devon’s extraction of diluted bitumen on the sovereign Beaver Lake Cree Nation’s territory. Cross Timbers Earth First! is a radical environmental justice group committed  to putting an end to any form of industrial extraction in the Cross Timbers bioregion, with a particular distaste for the widespread fracking that is poisoning communities and watersheds.

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Update 11:45: Six folks have been released from police custody. Four still in custody, with folks who locked down somewhere upstairs in the Devon Tower.
UPDATE 11:07: Both folks who locked down have been extracted, placed into wheelchairs, and wheeled into elevators to go “upstairs” in the Devon Tower. We have no clue why.
UPDATE 10:50: One person has been extracted from the lockdown, under arrest.

UPDATE 10:40: 8 Folks on site have been arrested and put in cop cars, whole street blocked off with cop cars, firetrucks, and a HazMat vehicle