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

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      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.

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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.”

Action Camp Update: Day 1

Yesterday was the opening day of Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance’s first action camp—and we’re incredibly thankful to the folks who have thrown their weight behind this struggle and whose history of resistance continues to provide inspiration and context.

The camp began with an opening ceremony led by Carter Camp (below, front right), and Casey Camp (in blue, left), with singing and drumming by Oglalla Lakota folks from Pine Ridge. Casey introduced folks, who came from all over the “United States,” to the region now known as Oklahoma and a myriad of the health and environmental problems caused by exploitative industry in Ponca territory-by-treaty.

Dwane and Carter Camp are both long time AIM (American Indian Movement) veterans.

Dwane and Carter Camp are both long time AIM (American Indian Movement) veterans.

The Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance is holding the action camp in response to the deadly infrastructure projects that are causing environmental genocide, and specifically the Keystone XL Pipeline being built through Oklahoma and carrying toxic tar sands that create more carbon emissions when refined than standard oil.

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The ConocoPhillips refinery in Ponca City is one of the many refineries in the “United States” now processing diluted bitumen from the tar sands. We come together, from different backgrounds but with similar aims, to oppose the Keystone XL for the devastating and tangible effects of tar sands industry and infrastructure on communities.   From the point of extraction in “Alberta,” along the pipeline route, and living close to refineries on the Gulf Coast which are slated to receive the toxic cargo from the Tar Sands—such as the Valero Refinery in the Port of Houston.

The camp will be providing trainings of direct action and civil disobedience for an upcoming action this week.

New Video!

We’re incredibly excited for the upcoming action camp, with folks from Owe Aku coming down! While you’re eagerly awaiting news from next week, why don’t you check out our new video, featuring coalition member Casey Camp of Coyote Creek Center for Environmental Justice?  Join us in the fight against tar sands extraction, transportation, and infrastructure!

Action Camp Schedule

Great Plains  Tar Sands Resistance     

Tentative Action Camp       
Schedule:       

Sunday March 17th: Arrival Day

6:00 p.m.  Dinner

Monday March 18th

Wake-­‐up call: 7 a.m.
Breakfast: 7: 30 a.m.
Morning Circle:  8:15 a.m.
Opening:  9:00 am -­‐  10: 30 a.m.
Tribal Government Representatives’   Address: 10:30am -­‐ 11:30a.m
Story  of  Oklahoma: 11:30-­‐12:30
Lunch:       12:30-­‐!:30
Story  of  Oklahoma ( Part 2): 1:30-­‐2:15
Break:       2:15-­‐  2:30
Decolonization  training:     2:30-­‐4:30/       4:30-­‐6:30       (A)
Anti-­‐Oppression  training:   2:30-­‐4:30/       4:30-­‐6:30       (B)
Dinner       6:30-­‐7:30
Action Planning:       7:30-­‐9:00
Evening       Circle/Ice       Breakers/intentions       for       Coming       Days:       9:00

Tuesday:       March       19th     

Wake-­‐up       call:       7       a.m.
Breakfast:       7:30 a.m.
Morning       Circle:       8:15 a.m.
TRACKS       BEGIN:       9:00 a.m.       -­‐12:00p.m.
Campaign Strategy (Roots) -­‐ 9:00-­‐12:00
Intro to  Blockades -­‐       9:00-­‐ 12:00
Advanced  Blockades Track:       9:00-­‐12:00       p.m.
Lunch:       12:00-­‐1:00       p.m.
TRACKS       RESUME:       1:00-­‐3:00       p.m.
Break:       3:00-­‐3:30       p.m.
Women’s  Relationship to Earth Panel with Casey Camp,  Jokay Dowell, Louise Benally and Debra White Plume:       3:30-­‐6:00       p.m.
Dinner       6:00-­‐7:00       p.m.
Action  Planning:       7:00-­‐       9:00       p.m.
Evening Circle:       9:00       p.m.

Wednesday:       March       20th  

Wake-­‐up  call:       7       a.m.
Breakfast:       7:       30       a.m.
Morning       Circle:       8:       15       a.m.
TRACKS       BEGIN:       9:00       a.m.       -­‐12:00p.m.
Lunch       12:00-­‐1:00       p.m.
TRACKS       RESUME:       1:00-­‐3:00       p.m.
Talks/Presentations:       Casey       Camp/       Debra       White       Plume/       Louise       Benally:       3:00-­‐6:00p.m.
Dinner:       6:00p.m.-­‐7:00p.m.
Action       Planning:       7:00p.m.-­‐       9:00       p.m.
(Legal Briefing:       7:00-­‐7:30p.m.)
Evening       Circle:       9:00

Thursday:       March       21st       
       
Day of  Action!
 
Friday:       March       22cnd:  

Gathering  of Thanks and Appreciation:       9:00       a.m.-­‐       10:30       am.

Feast  and  Debrief:       12:00 -­‐ 3:00p.m.

Closing       Ceremony:       3:00p.m.

Rally and Round Dance at Oklahoma City Capitol Building!

We’re excited to have teamed up with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth for today’s demonstration against the construction of the toxic KXL in Oklahoma! As of 1:30PM, 50+ people are rallying against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the Tar Sands project in so-called “Alberta, CA” which is poisoning the watersheds and traditional lands indigenous people in the region rely on for survival.

Kechina Nelson, of the Lakota Nation and organizer with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth:

“I want to fight against this because it would be so harmful to this beautiful land we call home. I want to protect this land so the older generations can pass on knowing that there is hope for a positive change and for my generation to make the right decisions and become a great people of the future. I also fight for the future generations, so that they can protect the earth and not abuse her, like the forefathers. We are different. We will make a change”.

Update 3:00PM: Folks have gone home, and are drying off from the rain! Thanks everyone for coming!

Update 2:30PM : Around 50 people continue to rally outside the capitol, despite the rain.

GPTSR rallies alongside members of Idle No More Central Oklahoma and Youth outside the Oklahoma Capitol.

GPTSR rallies alongside members of Idle No More Central Oklahoma and Youth outside the Oklahoma Capitol.

People rally at meeting point, 1:30PM.

People rally at meeting point, 1:30PM.

Press Release here, forward widely!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance hold Rally and Round Dance Against Toxic Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Contact:
Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth: Kechina Nelson, 605-4070800
Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance: Betsy Catlin, 207-729-9262, gptsresistance@riseup.net or gptsrmedia@gmail.com
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

Oklahoma City, OK: Idle No More Central Oklahoma’s Youth Group and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance are joining together for a demonstration and round dance against the construction of the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, beginning at 1pm with a march from 16th and Lincoln and culminating with a rally and round dance at the State Capitol Building. This demonstration is on the heels of countless round dances and flash mobs that have emerged from the international Idle No More indigenous sovereignty movement, as well as direct actions along the pipeline route by grassroots coalitions such as GPTSR.

The groups oppose the Keystone XL on the basis of its environmental impacts, the high risk of a spill, and its role in facilitating the expansion of the Tar Sands project in “Alberta, Canada” which is poisoning indigenous communities and destroying their traditional lands.

Tar Sands infrastructure projects have met staunch resistance from indigenous and grassroots groups. In the colonial construct of “Canada,” the Unis’tot’en camp has been blockading the construction of natural gas and diluted bitumen (tar sands) pipelines through their traditional lands, and the Yinka Dene Alliance and signatories of the Save the Fraser Declaration have vowed to not allow Tar Sands infrastructure projects such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline through their lands. In late January, tribes and groups resisting tar sands infrastructure met at the Yankton reservation in “South Dakota” and signed the Declaration to Protect the Sacred, which amounts to a vow to resist the expansion of tar sands infrastructure through traditional lands.

“The reason why I/we INM Central Oklahoma Youth stand up and say no to tar sands pipe line is because I respect my mother earth. I want to take care of her as she has taken care of us/me,” said Kechina Nelson, an organizer with Idle No More Central Oklahoma Youth. “I want to fight against this because it would be so harmful to this beautiful land we call home. I want to protect this land so the older generations can pass on knowing that there is hope for a positive change and for my generation to make the right decisions and become a great people of the future. I also fight for the future generations, so that they can protect the earth and not abuse her, like the forefathers. We are different. We will make a change”.

Idle No More Central Oklahoma has been building the Idle No More movement locally since its inception, with the formation of a youth group earlier this year marking a new and important chapter in the local movement’s history. Numerous round dances and much community work have been at the forefront of the movement’s visibility in the public.

Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance—a coalition of grassroots groups dedicated to resisting the expansion of Tar Sands infrastructure in the Great Plains—is having an action camp March 18th-22nd to share skills for building blockades and running a resistance campaign.

In February, GPTSR launched two direct actions. On February 4th, Norman resident Elizabeth Leja locked herself to an excavator being used to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through Oklahoma. On February 11th, Oklahoma City youth pastor Stefan Warner ascended a side-boom used for laying pipe and locked himself to it. Both actions are a part of a wave of resistance to tar sands infrastructure.