April 9, 2013. Source: Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance
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.
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.”