In a growing protest against oil and gas human rights abuses, Diane Wilson has joined the now 30-day sustained hunger strike by residents of Houston neighborhood, Manchester, demanding Valero oil refinery, polluting surrounding homes for decades and recently found to be releasing hydrogen sulfide, reveal exactly what toxins it is forcing residents to breathe.
As Valero Energy Corp reported a hydrogen sulfide release due to an upset, the 156,000-barrel-per-day McKee refinery in Sunray, Texas, a hunger-striking community in Manchester has been joined by Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey Jr. to protest the oil giant.
Wilson and Lindsey have committed to an indefinite hunger strike until Valero agrees to divest from the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, that is already linked to environmental destruction and human rights abuses in Canada.
Fourth-generation Gulf shrimper Wilson is no novice to defending human rights against Big Energy. On June 10, 2010, Wilson was arrested for pouring fake oil on her body during a Senate Energy Committee meeting in Washington D.C. about the BP-wrecked Macondo well oil gusher and carpet-bombing of Corexit that made the crude 52 times more lethal.
Charged with “unlawful conduct,” while BP and the military continued their Corexit dispersant chemical attack on Americans with impunity and immunity, Wilson urged the public to contact Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office to insist BP pay for their Gulf crimes.
“I was protesting Senator Lisa Murkowski’s refusal to make BP pay for the disaster that is devastating shrimping communities across the Gulf Coast,” stated Wilson, co-founder of CODE PINK, who had been removed from the hearing and arrested.
Republican Lisa Murkowski, ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, had blocked the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act that would have lifted oil companies’ $75 million liability cap. Wilson, who had traveled to D.C. from Texas, where her livelihood and those of fellow shrimpers had been ruined, stated:
“I am a fourth generation shrimper from the Gulf. With this BP disaster, I am seeing the destruction of my community and I am outraged. I am also seeing elected representatives like Senator Lisa Murkowski blocking BP from being legally responsible to pay for this catastrophe. She stopped the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act and wants to keep the liability cap at a pitiful $75 million. This is outrageous. How dare she side with big oil over the American people who have been so devastated by this manmade disaster?”
(Watch Vampire of Macondo book trailer on the left of this page to see a small sampling of the human rights abuses caused by the 2010 manmade catastrophe in the Gulf.)
With Wilson at the hearing was CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, who said, “We want people to call Senator Murkowski’s office and tell her to stop supporting big oil and support a healthy environment and American livelihoods instead. Our members from across the country have sent Murkowski thousands of emails already. We also want the Senator to call for Diane Wilson to be exonerated.
“BP CEO Tony Hayward should be in jail, not a distraught shrimper!
“We are tired of bailouts, and we are tired of being dumped on in the Gulf. I’m a commercial fisherma’am from the Gulf of Mexico, and we’re tired of being dumped on!” Wilson exclaimed. “Just imagine this: BP can get away with pouring millions of gallons of oil in our seas, and I get arrested for dumping a half-gallon of oil on myself in protest! This is just outrageous.”
After her arrest, Wilson, author of An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas, campaigned more fervently. She urged the public to call Senator Murkowski and ask her to lift the liability cap so BP would be legally responsible to pay for its mess and make sure “NO other oil company, including BP, can get away with this kind of disaster.
“Politicians like Murkowski take campaign money from big oil and then get in bed with the same oil and chemical corporations. This must stop. Enough is enough.
“We also have another beef with Senator Murkowski,” Wilson had said. “She wants to gut the Clean Air Act as well!”
Murkowski had sponsored amendment S.J. Res 26, to remove EPA’s authority to regulate green house gasses.
Outrage over human rights abuses caused by Valero and other oil giants is increasing and expected to fuel further mass protests in 2013, according to human rights defenders’ emails to the Examiner.
Deborah Dupré is author of “Vampire of Macondo,” packed with censored stories about the BP-wrecked Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico that continues causing catastrophic human and environmental devastation.
See the “Vampire of Macondo” book trailer, “First book to reveal BP Gulf Oil Human Rights Abuses.”
Follow Dupré on Twitter @DeborahDupre. For radio and television interviews, email email@example.com.