Daring U.S. pipeline sabotage was originally spawned by lobster boat coal protest in 2013 – by Nia Williams and Laila Kearney (Financial Post – October 14, 2016)


CALGARY, Alberta/NEW YORK • Pipeline sabotage by environmental activists that shook the North American energy industry this week had its roots in a 2013 protest off Massachusetts, when two men in a 32-foot lobster boat blocked a 40,000-ton coal shipment to a power station.

Three years on, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, the activists involved in the “Lobster Boat Blockade,” helped mastermind Tuesday’s audacious attempt to shut five major cross-border pipelines which can carry millions of barrels of crude from Canada’s oil sands region to the United States.

Protest group Climate Direct Action has said the action was taken to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which is protesting construction of the US$3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline carrying oil from North Dakota to the U.S. Gulf Coast over fears of damage to sacred land and water supplies.

O’Hara, Ward and a small group of climate-change activists spent months preparing for the biggest coordinated move on U.S. energy infrastructure ever undertaken by environmental protesters.

The simple plan’s effectiveness highlighted the vulnerability of energy infrastructure and left policy makers and energy executives mulling how to safeguard hundreds of thousands of miles of pipeline from the growing activist threat.In early-morning raids, around a dozen activists wearing safety coats and hard hats simultaneously broke into valve stations above the pipelines in remote locations stretching 1,600 miles (2,575 km) across four northern U.S. states.

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