Tar Sands Protestor Disrupts Transcanada Presentation

February 28th, 2013, 1:45pm — a protestor with Tar Sands Blockade this afternoon locked his neck to a projector screen in the middle of a TransCanada presentation at the North American Crude Marketing Conference in Houston. In taking direct action, Ethan Nuss confronted in-person Paul Miller, TransCanada’s Executive Vice President of Oil Pipelines, and a ballroom of tar sands industry investors, demanding a halt to the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Nuss successfully disrupted the second annual conference hosted by Platts. Among other things, the gathering is intended for fossil fuel industry executives and their financial backers to collaborate on schemes to transport dirty and dangerous tar sands from Canada to the Gulf Coast so it can be refined and sold on the international market, thereby expanding the industry.

“TransCanada’s ‘business as usual’ spells death and destruction for our communities,” said Ethan Nuss. “My conscience won’t allow me to watch this multinational corporation and their profiteers poison impacted communities from here in Houston’s polluted East End to indigenous people at the point of tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada. This must stop.” Ethan further shares his reasons for taking direct action below:

At last year’s marketing conference, Paul Miller explained the necessity of the southern leg of Keystone XL through Oklahoma and Texas to the expansion of the exploitative tar sands industry. TransCanada’s own fourth quarter report, released last week, revealed that the controversial pipeline is less than half completed, despite the Canadian pipeline corporation’s previous projections for completion of the southern segment this April.

This revelation highlights that Tar Sands Blockade’s sustained civil disobedience campaign since last August has been successful in delaying Keystone XL construction. Today’s action is part of growing momentum for an upcoming national week of action called for by Tar Sands Blockade and allies from March 16-23, with over 60 actions currently reported nationwide.

“This is just a morsel of what TransCanada and other tar sands profiteers can expect in the coming weeks and months,” said Kim Huynh, a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade. “All over the country, communities are gearing up to take to the streets, offices, extraction sites and public events to show that our movement won’t relent until we’ve made this investment as toxic for TransCanada and its financial backers as the very tar sands being piped through Keystone XL. Our tar sands-free future begins now.”

Earlier this week, 20,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into Otter Creek in Tyler County, TX from a pipeline owned by Sunoco Logistics. Otter Creek flows into Russell Creek, which feeds the Neches River. The leak did not trigger Sunoco’s detection systems but was discovered by local residents reporting oil in their water.

Update 1:53pm — All press have been kicked out of the conference.

Update 2:05pm — More protestors are outside the conference lobby chanting “All night, all day, Tar Sands Blockade!”

Update — In solidarity with Ethan and other oil conference disruptors, Tar Sands Blockaders dropped banners in sight of two major Houston highways.

Banner off Route 90 and the Buffalo Bayou in Houston reading “Today’s ‘Jobs’ Aren’t Worth Earth’s Demise”

Update 2:15pm — Protestors continue to yell and chant outside of the hotel where the conference is being disrupted.

Update 2:30pm — All protestors are outside of the hotel now except for Ethan, who is still locked to the projection screen in the conference room.

Update 3pm — Ethan has just been extracted, taken into police custody, and removed from the building.

Believe it or not, today is actually Ethan’s 29th birthday! Show your

Update 5:15pm — We’ve just heard from Ethan that he’s been charged with criminal trespass.

Update 8pm — Ethan still hasn’t been officially charged yet.

He’s in high spirits and sends along his deepest gratitude for all the love and birthday well-wishes:

“I turned 29 today, and there is nowhere that I’d rather spend my birthday than locked to that projector screen, speaking truth to power.”

Update Friday, March 1st, 1:15am — Ethan is expected to be in jail through the night.

Update 8:30am — Ethan’s just been bailed out!