Released by Tar Sands Blockade:
An activist disrupted the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio this afternoon during the PGA tournament. Douglas Fahlbusch was a standard bearer for the event and used the opportunity to bring attention to Manchester, a low-income, predominately Latino/a community on Houston's toxic East End situated next to Valero's Houston refinery.
Once the tournament reached the 18th hole, Fahlbusch changed the sign, ordinarily used to display the players' names and scores, to read "TAR SANDS SPILL. VALERO KILLS. ANSWER MANCHESTER." He refused to leave the green and was dragged the entire way off the premises by police.
"Business as usual is over, between the BP spill, the current Arkansas spill, and daily life in Manchester," Fahlbusch said. "Why won't Valero tell the Manchester people what it is they are breathing every day?"
San Antonio-based Valero is poised to refine as much as 75% of the tar sands coming from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast via the Keystone XL pipeline. The southern segment of the pipeline is under construction and is expected to be operational by the end of this year. If the Keystone XL pipeline is completed, pollution on Houston's toxic East End is projected to increase by over a third. The East End, and Manchester in particular, are already plagued by high rates of various cancers, asthma, and leukemia. A recent study found that children in Manchester have a 56% higher likelihood of developing leukemia than children living ten miles away, and the air consistently tests positive for at least eight different carcinogens.
Several attempts have been made to make Valero accountable for their pollution, including delivering a letter to CEO William Klesse amid a 45-day hunger strike by Gulf Coast activists Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey, which started following an action in which the pair locked their necks to industrial trucks outside the Valero refinery. But despite these attempts, there has been no response to Manchester's demands for transparency. You can learn more about the community of Manchester by visiting their new website, Manchester: Voices from a Frontline Community, at