Oklahoma Grandmother Locks Herself to Keystone XL Heavy Machinery — Halts Construction




      UPDATE: 4:30 4/9 Nancy released from jail on $250 bond.  Nancy is in high spirits but reports deplorable conditions at the jail – 13 women are being held in Hughes county in a cell designed for four.

UPDATE-  10:30am Nancy Zorn has been extracted by local law UPDATE-  10:30am Nancy Zorn has been extracted by local enforcement and taken into custody. Please consider contributing to Nancy’s bail fund.


ALLEN, OK – Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 9:00 AM – Oklahoma grandmother Nancy Zorn, 79, from Warr Acres, has locked herself to a piece of heavy machinery effectively halting construction on TransCanada’s Keystone XL toxic tar sands pipeline. This action comes in the wake of the disastrous tar sands pipeline spill in Mayflower Arkansas, where an estimated 80,000 gallons of tar sands spilled into a residential neighborhood and local waterways.

Nancy Zorn

Nancy Zorn, Oklahoma Grandmother

Using a bike-lock Zorn has attached her neck directly to a massive earth-mover, known as an excavator, which has brought construction of Keystone XL to a stop.  Zorn is the second Oklahoma grandmother this year risking arrest to stop construction of the pipeline, and her protest is the third in a series of ongoing civil disobedience actions led by the Oklahoma-based coalition of organizations, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance.

“Right now our neighbors in Arkansas are feeling the toxic affect of tar sands on their community. Will Oklahoma neighborhoods be next?” asked Zorn before taking action today. “I can no longer sit by idly while toxic tar sands are pumped down from Canada and into our communities. It is time to rise up and defend our home. It is my hope that this one small action today will inspire many to protect this land and our water.”

Exxon Mobil’s recent Pegasus pipeline spill has forced local residents to evacuate their homes due to life-threatening toxins released into their neighborhood. Local families have experienced episodes of nausea, headaches, and respiratory problems due to acute exposure to deadly chemicals, like benzene, that are mixed in with the raw tar sands. Pegasus was carrying up to 90,000 barrels of tar sands a day before it ruptured and spilled.  The Keystone XL pipeline is slated to carry over 800,000 barrels a day; an alarming 10 times the amount of tar sands.

“In the last two weeks alone there have been at least six different inland oil spills across the country,” said Eric Wheeler, an Oklahoma native and spokesperson for Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance. “It’s time to stop referring to pipeline spills as accidents, it’s now abundantly clear that leaks are just part of business as usual. Tar sands hurt everyone they touch, from the indigenous communities in Alberta whose water is being poisoned, to the Gulf Coast communities that are forced to breathe toxic refinery emissions. We’re not going to allow this toxic stuff in our beautiful state.”

90 thoughts on “Oklahoma Grandmother Locks Herself to Keystone XL Heavy Machinery — Halts Construction

  1. Sorry but we need oil to survive. The longer we have to buy it from foreign countries the more in debt we will be. If you think windmills are the way to go. Take a look at Palm Springs CA. The area is full of ugly windmills. Also. Where do you store the power you get from them. Well, batteries of course. Have you ever tried to get rid of a battery? We will have to have huge toxic dumps for the used batteries. Nuff said. Love you Karen.

    • How amazingly ignorant you are. The powers that be are smiling ear to ear to hear you fall in step exactly with their teachings. Congrats on showing the world what a “Sheeple” sounds like. We need oil to survive? Really? For millions of years we existed quite nicely without oil, but we need it now to survive according to you. You are so right and I cry myself to sleep every night over the billions of people who die every year from lack of oil, it is so sad. Wait a minute, that is right, folks are dying BECAUSE of oil and the pollution it causes, not from a lack of it. So dim.
      Those windmills are ugly outside of Palm Springs? To whom exactly and how nice do the skies look directly over LA a few miles to the west? They are SO LOVELY AND CLEAN! Oh, wait a second, that is right, they are brown and filled with SMOG a man made substance….how beautiful is that? Batteries are not the only way to store electricity and why would you need to store it when it is constantly being drawn, how about just transport it to a substation for delivery?
      Better to stay silent and appear a moron than open your mouth and remove all doubt Jean.

    • Ugly windmills? Oil to survive? Windmills, geo-thermal and solar power are much cleaner sources or energy and the next frontier. Do some research into drilling and fracking and the dangers to not only human life – but our eco system. I’m not talking hippie-kum-ba-ya fluff here – science and research will tell you the realities and dangers of coal and oil as energy sources. It’s time to move on – and off of dirty energy.

    • Sorry but if oil is needed so desperately the first step should be using it sensibly, not carrying on with business as usual, and did we not survive for hundreds of years before oil was discovered? Maybe a little imagination would help. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, an oil slick is hardly pretty is it? Putting some money behind research into storage instead of subsidizing the dinosaur fossil fuel industries would help too. You may think it’s a cheap option compared to renewables but remember you are paying twice. There are other ways to store energy, such as using wind or solar(when they are plentiful) to drive water uphill to turn turbine generators. But we will need to change behavior too. Driving everywhere does not have to be essential to survival but we need to tell our politicians we need to do lots of things differently. Lots more to be said, it’s not simple but we can’t go on like this surely you realise that? What are we leaving for our grandchildren?

  2. The reason we have Pipeline failure, is because those lines are getting old! We need new pipeline to prevent future desasters! Demonstrate against new pipeline is like demonstrating for more pollution!
    Pipelines are made of steel and they get old just like our cars and need to be replaced once in a while!

  3. okay, for all of you posting your thoughts on here…let me ask you a couple simple questions. Do you like heat in winter? Do you like to be able to get from one place to another in a car/plane/train/or even a bike? All of them use oil or oil byproducts in some way Lets go ahead and stop oil production right now, and see how many of you moan and complain about this. Without oil, no heat for your home, or maybe you’ll go and rape the forests for lumber then too? All the cranking and pissing and moaning all of you activists do makes the majority of people sick….if you want to effect change, stop complaining and come up with a solution. Noone listens to your incessant complaining. Unless you are living in the woods, off the land, you have NO business being on here. Is oil a perfect solution? No it isn’t, BUT its the solution we have right now. Battery technology isn’t there yet, and solar is ridiculously expensive. I am also guessing most of you drink Evian or Fiji water too right? Its at least 5 times the price of gas….. I’m so tired of you people, stop complaining and make a difference, start working on a solution.

    • No problems let’s examine your rant while ranting against rants. First off, what do you suggest other than ranting yourself? You are pissed other say something yet offer NOTHING to the conversation, except ranting yourself, thus making you a hypocrite on top of a ranter. That being said who gives a damn about the price of solar being expensive other than you? Are you telling me for a second that paying say $1000 out of pocket upfront to save several thousands over a few years is expensive even though it is cleaner? You are insane. The reoccurring cost on non-renewables FAR exceeds the initial investment on renewables. You claim it is impossible yet Iceland, right now as I write this is operating at 85% renewable.
      NO ONE asking for getting rid of oil overnight and your assessment that someone is is asinine and not based in reality. A phasing out of non renewables, like this antiquated technology with this tar sands pipeline, is a step in the right direction, but you would rather piss on it and claim they are NOT offering a solution, all the time ignoring the quite obvious solutions being offered like solar, wind, biodiesel, natural gas and geothermal. I find that pretty damn funny that you claim there is nothing being brought to the table by us and all we do is rant in a pointless baseless rant written by you. Speaks volumes of your intellect or lack there of.

      • My house is already completely green, but I also believe in oil as a great resource. As somone who comes from a family full of people who are in oil, I fully understand what the benefit of the tarsands is. There is enough oil in tarsands to give us independence from the Eastern countries while we try and find a solution for this. Showing admiration for some moron who chains herself to a machine is not only stupid, but also as asinine as you claim my ideas are. I’m all for phasing out non renewables myself, and using other methods as in wireless power, wind power, and solar (all of which I develop and use), but at the same time complaining about oil and it problems does NOTHING to fix the problem. Tying your self to a machine or a tree is just insane and useless and you claim I am. At the same, I understand your point, and respect your comment,

    • You’re a mental midget with no sense of history or government. You say “come up with a solution”, well many solutions have been explored and proven, yet the petro-giants have systematically disabled them.and even (in more than several instances) had inventors killed. Additionally, our beloved government is in the pockets of big oil and other giant corporate enterprises. Why do you think that Exxon has yet to pay for the damages caused by their oil spill that happened in 1989?? And why do you think BP works to cover up reports of continuing environmental damage. The technology IS here you dolt!!! Solar isn’t “ridiculously expensive”, especially when you weigh the risks of the kinds of damages we’ve seen from petroleum products. You “have no business” talking crap like a clueless imbicile.. The world is at your fingertips you lame-ass, get your Google on before you open your pie trap.

      • Obvioulsy you are the mental misget if you have to resort to name calling I think. I would be interested in seeing how you get around or heat your home. Are you 100% green? I highly doubt it…if you aren’t then maybe you should shut your “pie trap” as you so eloquently put it. Until you stop driving and using any oil products whatsoever..its probably best if you get your “learn” on and actually develop something to stop using oil (or oil byproducts). I would highly sugget before you call someone an imbecile and a dolt that you examine your self first.

    • Here is the single biggest problem with the continuation of pumping oil out of our earths crust at an unimaginable rate, worldwide…keep in mind 2/3rds of the earths oil has already been extracted from, I say it again, our earths crust. Why does that matter? For starters everyone out there is complaining about “global warming.” Everyone blames CO2 and clear cutting as the 2 biggest problems of “global warming.” Any farmer will tell you that the more CO2 there is, the bigger and stronger trees grow. True environmentalists who have their ears to the ground will also tell you that the Billion Tree campaign has planted almost as many trees across the globe as have been destroyed in clear cutting…including RE-forestation and A-forestation techniques. Even China has planted 6 Billion trees in the past 10 years. Although it is terrible that we are losing our natural rainforests for other reasons…global warming is not happening because of this. Exhaust from cars may be increasing pollution but it is also not the reason for global warming. Back to my original point…The earth is made up of several layers of crust. Each one is unique. At the core of our earth is a VERY HOT iron ball. One of our earths VERY IMPORTANT protective layers is OIL. Why is OIL an important layer of earths crust? IT PROVIDES INSULATION FROM THE HOT IRON CORE. It also provides LUBRICATION between the ever-shifting layers of crust that are in constant motion…gliding across one another. Removing the oil will warm the ocean resulting in an increased severity and frequency of weather patterns including extreme hurricanes. Removing the oil will cause the earths plates to glide less smoothly and will increase the severity and frequency of earthquakes. WHY? What do you think will happen to the other layers of earths crust when one is removed?? It will FALL in to fill the VOID, of course! Look at Louisiana, there is a sink hole that grows every day! Sink holes are popping up everywhere. I don’t care if you all disagree with each other on whether or not oil is useful, harmful, polluting etc. The mathematical FACT remains…if you put 5 blocks stacked on top of one another laying over hot coals and slowly remove them from the bottom…the other blocks will fall and the one at the top will get hotter and hotter as it gets closer to the bottom. We are being exposed to the heat coming from WITHIN because we have removed our earths oil and protective insulation. And like it or not…there is NOTHING we can do about it now. Solar? Wind? Sorry…it’s too late. So buckle up…it’s about to get real hot up in here.

      • Well Laney,
        I hope you are wrong, oh not that I disagree that pumping that much oil out from under the earths crust and combusting it up here is not having an effect, and you may just have something there with regard to what you are saying.

        However, with regard to the pipeline, I am Canadian and would much prefer it didn’t go through (not that my “No Vote” would make much difference) but if it is FORCED THROUGH as it looks like it is then requiring an adequate safety system to prevent “Pollution due to spills” and instead contain any spill immediately.

        This is my suggested “Minimum design requirement”

        I designed a double walled pipeline system exactly for this Toxic Dilbit product but know that it would be the best solution out there to deal with all current pipelines also. (I compiled this design in the spring of 2012 when Christy Clark BC’s Liberal leader was still sitting on the fence with Enbridge about the “Northern Gateway Pipeline”)

        The design and proving system is infallible and almost ridiculously simple to picture; since it is not much more than a second ‘safety’ pipe overtop of the current ‘product carrying’ pipe which are sealed to each other at ‘start’ and ‘finish’ of a section.

        At the ‘start’ end there would be the ‘product inlet valve’ which would be opened by the mechanical pull of a ‘vacuum cylinder’ drawn in by the vacuum achieved in the ‘space’ between the ‘interconnected pipes’. The resistance spring would keep the valve closed until it is overcome by about three (3) atmospheres of vacuum.

        On ‘loss’ of the vacuum to less than (3) atmospheres in any part of the system for whatever reason immediately causes the ‘return spring’ on the vacuum cylinder to start driving the ‘product supply valve’ towards a ‘closed’ position stopping flow into the compromised section of the system.

        The subsequent loss of “Safe operation” signal to downstream “Control valve/ vacuum pumps” would have them shut down within minutes of “Pipeline Continuity Failure” due to loss of vacuum pump and so not maintaining a “minimum vacuum proving level’.

        ANY SPILL would be confined and IN COMPLETE CONTAINMENT between the pipelines, and the environment PROTECTED!

        On “Restart” ALL of the ‘safeties’ “Upstream” would have ALREADY been proven for the sections ‘downstream’ to receive any “Operational power”.

        On reducing fuel consumption, air pollution, and oil resource depletion check this out; http://wecando101.tripod.com/

  4. Pingback: Breaking News: Oklahoma Grandmother Locks Herself to Keystone XL Heavy Machinery — Halts Construction of Tar Sands Pipeline | OccuWorld

  5. Toxic exposure is already inherent as part of todays lifestyle and environment. If you breathe, eat the food, drink the water or walk barefoot (what about animals?), you are exposed to thousands to tens of thousands of toxins daily. To be exposed to the concentrated toxins that would be making these people sick, as it is, will leave a more concentrated mark. It does not go away. The damage is done. Inflammation and chronic illnesses including cancer are the result.The research is abundant. We have to find other ways. If it’s making them sick now, it is having an effect on their bodies. Look at the research. It’s not hard to find.

  6. Pingback: Oklahoma Grandmother Locks Herself to Keystone XL Heavy Machinery « Canada Petro State

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  9. Good news on the hydrogen front could be a game changer. An easy and cost effective way has been developed thru micro organizims to produce hydrogen from any plant matter! I vote YES ?

  10. Nancy Zorn is a testament of the human spirit to overcome adversity and overwhelming odds at the hands of the state and their associates. She is a model of what a caring grandmother is in America. She is informed and educated and wise enough to know what, regardless of what the state opinions are:- what in in the vital interests of her grandchildren and America’s grandchildren. Nancy Zorn is a truly courageous woman, who understands her constitutional rights and uses them for the general good of all. Nancy Zorn should receive a citation from President Barak Obama for her dedication to America and her environment and eco-system. Sher stands tall in this fight for environmental rights of all who live in America against the powerful pro-tar-sands advocates, who clearly do not share in her opinions of their bubbling heavy crude oil and its merits to society !

    Best Regards to Nancy Zorn
    Kevin Graham

  11. This is no more than one action among many that need to occur to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel, regardless where it comes from, and avoid the day we are faced with runaway climate change.

  12. Amazing!!! I loved to see this story. I agree that we have many other options. The 13% minimum increase in CO2 is enough reason to say no to this in the first place! The Canadian arm of this project has had multiple oil spills and we don’t need more. What we need to do is actively live the given solutions like: cut plastic out of our lives, use renewable sources, public transportation and recycle existing plastics. Additionally, if we need more crude oil, we can just start cleaning the oceans of plastic and we will find we have plenty of oil just waiting to be reclaimed. (The plastic can be converted back to crude)

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  14. I’ve just read these comments and don’t mind being called ignorant or worse. I’m not an engineer or inventor but I do believe our Mother Earth is sacred and am willing to die defending her and the life she nourishes. I am honored that someone called me Everybody’s Grandmother. I am pleased that my protest has inspired so much interest. Controversy is a major step in the right direction. Bring it on. Gran

    • I’m with you gal. Eventually, we will have to find and use other options. And what will be the state of our natural world when that happens? I am concerned. The powers in control have basically lost respect for nature and the earth. What is the saying? “Don’t fight with Mother Nature?”. I don’t think we will, in the end, win. It is also said, “It takes what it takes.” ( for people to learn) In this case, I am concerned what the consequences might be.

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  16. To the comment, “We need oil to survive.” Huh? What on earth (no pun intended) do you think people survived on for thousands of years before industrialization? Here’s a hint: It wasn’t oil. The reasons we are not living sustainably have little and nothing to do with oil itself and everything to do with greed and laziness. We need oil because we were told that we need cars, lots of them, so we can drive everywhere instead of using public transport or bio-power (bikes, anyone?). Auto makers
    don’t want to switch to all hybrid or all electric because it would cost them too much, and the profit margin is more important that healthy ecologies. And guess what? We, the People, are not truly benefiting from the convenience of cars. America is fat and unhealthy because we no longe MOVE our bodies enough. We have been lulled into complacency through sensory excess and the training continues. We eat refined foods with little nutritional value. It’s easy. It “tastes” good. We purchase goods that are not designed to last, then just throw them into a dump and buy more. Our bodies are now carrying toxins which is leading to more and more disease and genetic degradation. Yes, we need to keep warm in winter. Hmmm. Let’s consider Indigenous cultures from cold climates. These communities were thriving MORE before we came to rely on oil. And as for so-called “ugly” wind farms, well, as an argument for continued oil consumption that is just absurd. What greater beauty is there, than evolving our energy needs to low-impact technologies that keep ecologies healthy? We are all going to have to choose. This problem won’t go away. Here in Maine some people are receiving complaints because neighbors think the solar panels on their property are ‘unattractive.’ In the midwest, families are being cited by municipal organizations for having raised beds for food production on their lawns. A lawn is one of the most un-natural, unproductive, resource gobbling landscape features invented by man. It does not support life. And what do we do? We use MORE gas and oil to use a machine to keep it cut so nothing can live there. Wake up. We are literally stealing a future from our children and grandchildren by perpetuating such insanity. Think about it.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I made some comments earlier about the toxins. I am in the healthcare field, and more aware of the real underlying causes of the great increase in incidence and thus cost to people and society of chronic illnesses. We are an addicted society. Addicted to ease and comfort, and we want it fast. But, when you’ve had it easy, why would you want to change? People do not change without need to change. But the nature of addiction is that we need more, not less. Until it hits us personally, we do not see or feel the need for change. That’s human nature. I want my creature comforts that I’m used to. I don’t have as much as some, but I want what I’m used to. But we are a society of excess, and balance will have to come .It is not something most people would vote for, until they have to.
      There are unbelievable amounts of money being spent to care for these chronic illnesses, and Medicaid and Medicare pay large sums for this. Do you wonder why the healthcare system is broke? Because , as you say,of greed( how is wealth distributed, and who holds the most of it?), and the natural foods, and taking responsibility for exercise and growing food are not what we are used to, and in some cases are , as you say, criticized. It’s a crazy, mixed up society. A sick society. We are losing much of nature and the natural world. The balance will come, but not easily.

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  18. How many people do you see chaining themselves to anything to *protect* oil? Nobody would, because it’s not worth it. *Preventing* oil, however, is worth it — it just takes a dab of human perspective to reveal the folly of oil.

  19. How many people do you see chaining themselves to anything to *protect* oil? Nobody would, because it’s not worth it. *Preventing* oil, however, is worth it — it just takes a dab of human perspective to reveal the folly of oil.

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