Early on the morning of Friday, December thirteenth, two Earth First! activists locked down inside the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City in protest of tar sands extraction and plans to frack the Eagle Ford Shale.
The activists with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance (GPTSR) and Cross Timbers Earth First! locked themselves inside a revolving door at the Devon Tower in protest of Devon’s involvement in toxic tar sands extraction and fracking, as well as plans to increase fracking in the Eagle Ford Shale. Simultaneously, a banner displaying a Mockingjay symbol from the popular Hunger Games series was unfurled from the second story. It rea: “The Odds are Never in Our Favor.” Imagery from the Hunger Games was employed to highlight the parallel between industrial sacrifice zones in real life, and the resource colonies (Districts) that are subjected to state and economic violence in the series. This action coincided with two days of trial for folks in the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society who were arrested while preventing natural gas exploration on their traditional lands in New Brunswick.
In 2010, Devon Energy’s Jackfish 1 facility on Beaver Lake Cree First Nations territory in Alberta, Canada experienced a failure at one of the wellheads. The failure sent a plume of bitumen-laced, high-temperature steam into the air for nearly 36 hours. Long seen as a responsible and benevolent corporate community member, Devon Energy is a key player in the deadly tar sands industry. And though Devon Energy has been touted as practicing the safest and greenest form of tar sands extraction, the form of extraction that Devon practices–steam assisted gravity drainage–emits 2.5x the greenhouse emissions as open mining, according to the Pembina Institute. Additionally, since 80% of tar sands reserves lie too deep within the earth to mine, this type of extraction will utilize 30x more land area than open mining.
“I’m opposed to the industry’s blatant disregard for human wellbeing in the pursuit of profit,” said Cory Mathis of Austin, TX—one of the activists locked down inside Devon. “These industries poison countless communities, often deceive and coerce folks into signing contracts, and when that doesn’t work, they use eminent domain to steal the land. Texas and Oklahoma have long been considered sacrifice zones for the oil and gas industry, and people have for the most part learned to roll over and accept the sicknesses and health issues that come with the temporary and unsustainable boost in employment.”
Two of the activists have had charges brought against them for the glitter that fell from their sparkly banner. According to the government, glitter falling from a banner counts as a “Terrorism Hoax” State Felony, which can carry a ten year sentence. The two other change-makers who locked to the doors have been booked for additional misdemeanors and trespass. Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance is working to fundraise $3,500 to pay the activists' bail.
This story was orginally published on the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance website.
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