The Norman Transcript


March 4, 2013

Pipeline protesters visit Norman



“Duty-free” refineries are in Foreign Trade Zones, which will give tax benefits to the refineries importing the oil. The companies will still pay taxes when selling the refined oil in the U.S., but when importing and exporting from foreign trade zones, the companies don’t have to pay tax on the product sales.

As far as jobs go, while original estimates may have been that the pipeline project would offer around 20,000 jobs, Francis said when the state department looked into it, the pipeline would actually only provide around 4,000 to 6,000 jobs.

Furthermore, a Freedom of Information Act was filed and one of the things Trans-Canada was asked was when they went through South Dakota to get to Illinois, how many jobs were actually created in that state.

“It turns out it was only around 270,” Francis said. “And then the question was, how many of those 270 odd jobs were Americans? 11 percent.”

Oklahomans protesting: Some Oklahomans have been trying to make a difference, including Elisabeth Leja, 74, of Norman, who was arrested last month for protesting the pipeline. Leja chained herself to equipment used to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline near Highway 62 in Okfuskee County.

An Oklahoma youth pastor, Stefan Warner, also was arrested after he locked himself to machinery near Schoolton. In a statement released by the GPTSR, Warner said he didn’t want the North Canadian River become another Kalamazoo.

“I figure folks have to take action to stop our beautiful Oklahoma from being marred by a foreign corporation and stand up to fight big corporations who think poisoning people and stealing land is acceptable so long as they make a profit,” Warner said.

Warner attended the meeting in Norman last week when members of the GPTSR group spoke to the Sierra Club and members of the public.

GPTSR member J. Morris said, in reference to the protesters’ actions, that if one person could stop a piece of 40-foot-tall equipment for one day, imagine if there were enough people to stop it for a week.

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