Duo continues hunger strike to demand Valero’s exit from Keystone XL project
NEW ORLEANS -- Gulf Coast defenders Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey Jr. have reached the second week of their ongoing hunger strike to demand Valero, one of the largest investors in Keystone XL, fully divest from the tar sands pipeline, shut down its refinery in the Manchester community of Houston and invest in the communities’ health.
Their hunger strike began November 29th when the pair locked their necks to tanker trucks outside of the Valero refinery in Manchester.
Organizers with Tar Sands Blockade are working in concert with Bob and Diane to prevent tar sands, the dirtiest energy source on the planet, from reaching Gulf Coast refineries like Valero before it is shipped overseas. The two hunger strikers have refused to eat until Valero permanently divests from the Keystone XL pipeline and vacates the Manchester community that it has been exploiting for decades.
“We are actively working to raise the awareness within the community that they do not have to tolerate this kind of behavior from Valero,” attests Bob Lindsey, a 5th generation Texan from Port O’Connor, US Navy veteran and the official Waterkeeper for the San Antonio Bay. “It is their community and we hope that our actions will help to empower them to take it back.”
“Sometimes I think I’ve seen it all, but the community of Manchester is unbelievable,” explains Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation shrimper whose activism has exposed how multinational corporations were covering up spills and dumping toxins into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast. “Industry surrounds the people of Manchester. If a huge tank of some toxic chemical overflows, it overflows into the yards of the people who live in the community.”
Diane was arrested two weeks ago when she locked her neck to an industry truck at a pumping station in front of the Valero refinery in order to call attention to the effects that the Keystone XL pipeline, and ultimately tar sands, will have upon communities along the Houston Shipping Channel. Bob was arrested when he simultaneously locked his neck to an industry truck in front of the large Valero smokestack in Manchester. Both Diane and Bob are under the care of Tar Sands Blockaders as they continue their sustained hunger strike, vowing to drink only water until their demands are met.