On cloudy days, heavy smoke fills the air of Ponca City, Okla., with grey smog that camouflages itself into the sky. The ConocoPhillips oil refinery that makes its home there uses overcast days as a disguise to release more toxins into the air. These toxins are brimming with benzene — a chemical that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can cause leukemia, anemia and even decrease the size of women’s ovaries. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2008 the ConocoPhillips refinery released over 2,000 pounds of this chemical into the air in Ponca City.
“Of the maybe 800 of us that live locally, we have averaged over the last five to seven years maybe one funeral a week,” explained Casey Camp-Horinek, a Ponca woman and longtime activist. “Where we used to have dances every week, now most people are in mourning.”
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) is demanding the resignation of Gerry Protti, the newly-appointed chair of Alberta Energy Regulator, a new agency charged with monitoring environmental issues. The ACFN is concerned that, under Protti’s leadership, the agency will prioritize advancing the interests of the oil, gas and coal industries, while compromising environmental protection and First Nations issues.
“How can Gerry Protti be diligent to First Nations concerns and uphold treaty rights when he clearly has no previous experience engaging First Nations and still has such strong industry ties?” said the ACFN in a press release.
Day seven of blockade: Group hopes to slow down the flow of Canadian tar sands oil
By: Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams
Braving frigid temperatures and intense snowfall, a group of Red Lake Nation tribal members are now on their seventh day of a blockade of an Enbridge oil pipeline, which they say passes illegally through their sacred tribal land in northern Minnesota.
Source: Calgary Herald
OTTAWA — An alliance of First Nations leaders is preparing to fight proposed new pipelines in the courts and through unspecified direct action.
Native leaders from Canada and the United States were on Parliament Hill on Wednesday to underline opposition to both the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines.
The first would tie the Alberta oil sands to the West Coast, while the second would send bitumen to refineries on the American Gulf Coast.