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Environmentalists Shut Oil Project

November 27, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Environmental activists shut down a shale oil project Monday to protest the weekend collapse of international negotiations on how to cut the pollution that is warming the planet.

On what was to be the first day of major production tests at the Stuart Oil Shale project in eastern Queensland state, six Greenpeace activists locked themselves to a shale conveyor belt.

They also hung up a banner with the words ``climate change starts here.″

Canada’s Suncor Energy, one of the plant’s owners, asked the Queensland Supreme Court to order the protesters to leave. Late Monday, the court did so, and Greenpeace said they would comply with the order.

Greenpeace claims shale oil creates four times as much pollution as conventional oil, making it the dirtiest of all fossil fuels.

``Greenpeace is doing what governments at the ... climate negotiations failed to do _ taking action to protect the climate,″ Greenpeace campaign coordinator Corin Millais said.

The international climate conference in The Hague, Netherlands, ended Saturday in deadlock after delegates failed to agree on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Stuart Oil Shale project, in Gladstone, about 1,120 miles north of Sydney, is a joint venture between Suncor Energy and Australian twin companies Southern Pacific Petroleum and Central Pacific Minerals.

Police officers were at the scene but there was no immediate word of arrests.

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