16 protesters delay tar sands megaload, arrested
December 17, 2013
Police arrested 16 protesters late Monday as activists locked themselves to disabled vehicles in front of a tar-sands megaload near John Day, delaying the shipment’s passage.
“Climate justice groups stopped the movement of a controversial shipment of equipment bound for the Alberta tar sands,” said a news release issued at 1:49 a.m. Tuesday by Portland Rising Tide, an activists’ network. “Police responded and arrested 16 at the two blockade sites, using ‘pain compliance’ to extract them.”
The blockade is the second pulled off by activists slowing the 901,000-pound rig as it heads for Alberta via Oregon and Idaho. The load was first blocked Dec. 1, when two men locked themselves to the truck and had to be extracted by police, which took so long the shipment canceled its nightly move.
This time the megaload was able to proceed, said Holly Zander, a spokeswoman for Omega Morgan, the trucking company.
"After the protesters were removed from the road we proceeded with travel and are about 30 miles east of John Day now," Zander said in a Tuesday morning email. She expects the rig and its convoy to travel about 35 miles Tuesday night.
Protesters demonstrated at Omega Morgan’s Hillsboro headquarters last week. They say extraction of petroleum products from Alberta’s tar sands is environmentally destructive, hastening global climate change.
Zander says Omega Morgan is just doing its job hauling giant cargo, a routine project for the company that moved the Sellwood Bridge platform and helped replace the Skagit River Bridge.
The megaload is hauling an evaporator manufactured in Portland to the Athabasca oil fields north of Edmonton. Omega Morgan says the shipment is the first of three for General Electric Co., which owns the equipment.