While Governor Mitch Daniels hosts invitation-only events along the new Interstate 69 extension commemorating the opening of the first 67 miles of the controversial highway project, some Bloomington residents, along with Glacier’s Edge Earth First!, held a demonstration at the offices of Crider & Crider, Inc., in Bloomington.
The demonstration is part of a series of actions happening worldwide to express solidarity with the blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline in East Texas and to protest continued investment in a fossil fuels-based economy. Crider & Crider was chosen as a site for the protest because the contracting company has been awarded contracts to build part of I-69 in Monroe County, where opposition to the project has been overwhelming.
Demonstrators used pots and pans, a squeezebox, beans in tupperware, and other noise makers to disrupt business at the office for nearly an hour before police arrived.
Both the Keystone XL pipeline and the I-69 extension project represent a powerful minority pushing through an environmentally and socially destructive infrastructure project, while ignoring mass opposition from those most directly impacted–the communities through which the projects pass.
Opposition to both I-69 and the Keystone XL pipeline has been fierce, and the repression of such dissent has been more so. In Indiana, opponents of the highway project have been harassed by state and local police, arrested and charged with outlandish felony charges (which were later dropped on statutory grounds), and have been subjected to SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). The same pattern has emerged among opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, as protestors from Texas to Alberta–where much of the tar sands oil to be pumped through the pipeline originates–have faced severe police brutality, frivolous felony charges, and SLAPP suits.
The effects of climate change are impossible to ignore, with record droughts in the Midwest and devastating storms worldwide becoming commonplace. It is due time for our society to move past the antiquated and destructive methods of job-creation of the past and towards a sustainable future.
Today’s demonstration serves to draw a connection between these two projects. While the governor and his high-powered backers celebrate the progress of 20th Century infrastructure, we are calling for a new direction.
We ask, which is more important, short-term construction jobs or the long-term viability of human life on this planet?