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Environmental activists protesting “petrocrat” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our dirty tar sands were arrested at the British Parliament earlier today, The Guardian (UK) and other media report.
The protesters, identifying themselves as Love Canada, Hate Tar Sands, were arrested after climbing the roof of the British Parliament building with T-shirts saying ‘oil out of politics’, ‘stop Harper’ and ‘stop the tar sands’. They also spilled molasses on the floor outside the building.
The activists criticized the UK government for inviting Harper to deliver the first speech by a Canadian PM to the British Parliament since 1944. Harper addressed legislators in the House of Lords.
WASHINGTON – May 16 – The Big Apple proved to be an unfriendly landing spot today for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose sales job for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was interrupted by scores of climate activists who want President Obama to reject the pipeline and for Harper to re-commit Canada to confronting climate change.
An estimated 100 activists greeted Harper before his visit to the Council on Foreign Relations with a large banner that read “Harper: Tell the truth on climate change. Tar Sands = Climate Disaster.” On Tuesday, over 500 people met President Obama here to ask him to reject the Keystone.
“Harper is here to sell tar sands oil and his country’s record on dealing with the climate crisis but Americans are skeptical of both and for good reason,” said 350.org spokesperson Daniel Kessler. “The US is cutting its emissions while Canada’s are rising. Tar sands expansion will stall progress in both of our countries and concerned citizens are speaking out.”
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.
In response to Exxon Mobil’s disastrous tar sands spill in neighboring Arkansas, Oklahoma residents are engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience to halt construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline
ALLEN, OK – April 9, 2013 – 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.