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Solidarity with Arkansas Rising

posted Jan 19, 2017, 11:16 AM by Aaron Fowles   [ updated Jan 19, 2017, 12:23 PM ]
The Green Party of Shelby County expresses its solidarity with and support of the Arkansas Rising water defenders and other activists who joined in their direct action at the Valero Refinery in Memphis on January 16th during the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Diamond Pipeline, a joint venture between Texas corporations Plains All American Pipeline and Valero, is designed to carry unrefined oil from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Valero Refinery on Presidents Island in Memphis.  Construction began in 2016, and plans call for the pipeline to be operational by 2017.

Arkansas Rising conducted a nonviolent act of civil disobedience by blocking access to the refinery using large barrels filled with concrete and their own bodies.  This action resulted in the arrest of 12 of the activists.  The activists, described as water defenders, guardians, or protectors, were protesting the impact of the pipeline on various water supplies in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee where the pipeline crosses existing waterways, creating the potential for contamination in the event of a leak.  Such a leak in the section nearest to the Valero refinery could ultimately results in the contamination of the Memphis Sand Aquifer.

The Green Party of Shelby County recognizes that the sustainable future of Memphis, the Midsouth, the United States, and indeed the very world lies not in the passive embrace of fossil fuels as the means to an end but instead in the immediate transition to renewable energy to be completed by the year 2030.  Therefore, the Green Party of Shelby County officially stands with Arkansas Rising.