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Greenpeace protest prompts Shell security review

Last Updated: Monday, October 5, 2009 | 10:34 AM MT

Shell Canada is vowing to tighten security following the weekend arrest of 16 Greenpeace demonstrators at an oilsands project northeast of Edmonton.

The protesters used a crane and climbing gear to scale the smokestacks at the plant and unfurled some banners. The activists were arrested Sunday by members of a special police climbing team.

Sixteen people are facing charges of mischief and breaking and entering.

Shell spokesperson Phil Vircoe said the security breach is under investigation.

“Greenpeace has been targeting the entire oil and gas industry here and they’ve been taking unsafe and outrageous actions to breach security at various sites over the last few weeks so security is extremely important to us,” he said.

“We are reviewing our security procedures as a result of past activities,” said Vircoe. “We are investigating the security incident and it’s really to early to speculate on what that investigation will reveal.”

The occupation started early Saturday when 19 activists stormed the under-construction upgrader in Fort Saskatchewan, which upgrades heavy oil into a lighter synthetic oil that can be refined into gasoline and other products.

Protesters from Canada, France, Brazil and Australia unfurled banners reading “Climate Crime” and “Climate SOS” to draw attention to an industry they say is dramatically increasing greenhouse gases.

The protest was the latest attempt by Greenpeace to shed light on the “climate crimes of the tarsands” in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit in Denmark in December.

Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, brushed off criticism from Premier Ed Stelmach that the protesters, who’ve launched three such protests in the last month, are being “coddled” while breaking the law.

The demonstration was the third Greenpeace protest in Alberta in recent weeks.

On Sept. 16, Greenpeace activists chained themselves to two massive oilsands trucks in Shell’s Albian Sands mine, north of Fort McMurray.

On Sept. 30, about 20 protesters were arrested after blocking work at Suncor Energy’s open-pit mine in northern Alberta.

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