Tar Sands Blockade: Eight People Climb Trees And Start Indefinite Tree Sit to Stop Keystone XL

Originally posted by the Tar Sands Blockade

Eight people climbed 80 feet into trees in the path of Keystone XL construction, and pledged not to come down until the pipeline is stopped for good. Construction cannot proceed until tree-sitters descend and TransCanada clear-cuts through hundreds of trees to make way for the toxic tar sands pipeline.

The blockade is carefully organized to ensure that everyone sitting in the trees can remain safe as long as TransCanada does not attempt to continue clear-cutting the trees. These ardent advocates of landowner’s rights and climate justice have the safety equipment and food supplies to last indefinitely. Help spread this breaking story  on Facebook and Twitter.

“Today I climbed a tree in the path of Keystone XL to demand TransCanada stop construction of this dirty and dangerous pipeline. This pipeline is a disaster for everyone it touches, from the cancer tar sands extraction is causing indigenous communities, to the water poisoned by inevitable tar sands spills, to the landowners whose land has been seized, and to everyone that will be affected by climate change,” said Mary Washington, one of the Tar Sands Blockade members sitting in a tree.

Show your support for Mary and our seven other blockaders with a generous donation to help keep them supplied with food and water.

It’s not easy to see our friends disappear up a tree, exposed to the elements, and not know when we will see them again. But knowing what this pipeline is doing to our neighbors and the planet, we are more resolved than ever to keep fighting this pipeline by whatever means we can.

This blockade is a continuation of an unprecedented summer of actions against fossil fuel infrastructure across America, from Montana to Ohio to New York. As a record heat wave baked the country, Americans stood up in unheard of numbers to oppose fossil fuels that are contributing to climate change. Join this growing movement when you sign up now to join one of our upcoming actions. If you were thinking about coming to Texas, now is the time!

 “Climate change killed half a billion trees in Texas last year–and if TransCanada cuts these down, than the dirty oil they send down the pipeline will trigger yet more out-of-control warming,” said climate activist Bill McKibben, who helped lead huge protests in Washington, DC against the pipeline last fall.

Tar Sands Blockade has already successfully shut down Keystone XL construction for about two-and-a-half days in Livingston, Saltillo, and Winnsboro.

Watch the action packed video from our recent actions and sign up to join us.

“Today’s bold action by these eight brave people demonstrates their resolve to stop this dirty and dangerous pipeline. They understand the severity of the threat and that taking action is less risky than doing nothing,” said Ron Seifert, a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade. “We are defending our homes, our communities clean drinking water, our land rights, and a stable, livable climate.”

More Action In Texas As Three Blockaders Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery

BREAKING: Three Blockaders Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery

Tar Sand Blockade again halts construction on the toxic Keystone XL pipeline in its sustained campaign of civil disobedience

WINNSBORO, TEXAS – September 19, 2012, 8:00AM – Three landowner advocates and climate justice organizers have locked themselves to a piece of machinery critical for Keystone XL construction.

Blockaders have locked themselves to a massive wood chipper and a skidder, both used in clear cutting trees in the path of the toxic pipeline. Tar Sands Blockade has again delayed construction on a segment of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Today’s action marks the third time that blockaders have halted construction in recent weeks.

Four blockaders total entered a construction yard risking arrest. Three are locked to the Keystone XL construction machinery. Texas-born blockaders have united with neighbors from other states to support rural and neighboring communities threatened by the toxic pipeline’s diluted bitumen slurry.

Doug Grant, 65 from San Francisco, CA, says, “Having worked for years for Exxon, I know how enticing it is to want to develop the Alberta Tar Sands, but it’s just wrong; wrong for the folks who live near the surface mines and toxic ponds, wrong for the landowners who are coerced under duress into contracts or taken to court to have their homes stolen from them, and just wrong for the climate.” Doug is [doing this].

“As a mother and step-grandmother, I want to be able to tell my children that I did something when the time came,” explains Amarillo-born R.C. Saldaña-Flores, 36. “I’m willing to take risks today to raise awareness of this horrible situation – even if that means being away from my children in jail for a day.”

Kentucky-based solar installation expert and author of the forthcoming book The Pipeline and the Paradigm: Keystone XL and the Rise of Global Consciousness, Sam Avery, 63, suggests that sometime you must create an obstruction in order to facilitate necessary discussion. “I don’t believe it’s too late. We have time,” he shares. “We simply must continue to stand with landowners who are having their homes and farms ruined. We must continue to press for dialogue amongst all people victimized by TransCanada’s ruthless harm. Civil disobedience allows for that space to develop.”

Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

“People from all walks of life are banding together to defend their homes in the face of TransCanada’s fraudulent bullying,” suggests Ron Seifert, a spokesperson for the Tar Sands Blockade. “Their Keystone XL pipeline serves no legitimate public interest, and people are waking up to the fact that this multinational corporation is stealing land and poisoning water supplies illegitimately. For that reason, we are proactively defending homes through nonviolent civil disobedience.”

One thing is clear from our recent victories that stopped Keystone XL construction for the entire day in both Saltillo and Livingston, Texas– people power works.

Sign up now to join one of our upcoming actions.

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Press Contact:

Ron Seifert, 843-814-2796, ronseif@gmail.com

Ramsey Sprague, 682-556-0553, profe.ramsey@gmail.com

Tar Sands Blockade Stops Work at Keystone XL Site Near Saltillo, TX

The Tar Sands Blockade and Rising Tide North Texas Strikes Again! 

Watch their live blog for updates!

Landowner advocates lock selves to feller buncher machines in KXL easement’s path of destruction!

SALTILLO, TEXAS – September 5, 2012, 7AM – Three landowner advocates and climate justice organizers have locked themselves to feller buncher machines used for clearing large trees in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline. Today’s action has halted work on a segment of TransCanada’s illegitimate pipeline outside of Saltillo, TX. As promised, Tar Sands Blockade’s rolling campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience pushes forward.

Five blockaders total are currently risking arrest to stop work on this segment of the Keystone XL pipeline. Contractors discovered their presence early in the work day, and work at the site was called off shortly thereafter. Texas-born blockaders have united with neighbors from other states to support rural and neighboring communities threatened by the toxic pipeline’s diluted bitumen slurry.

Tar Sands Blockade’s landowner solidarity actions hit home with 22 year old Houston-born blockader, Sarah Reid. “This pipeline affects me, my friends and my family directly. The toxic contents threaten the water we drink, the air we breathe.” Reid, who traces her Texan ancestry back to Obedience Smith, the first female settler to own land in Texas, continues, “Out in East Texas, the landowners I’ve met are honest, hard working people who have been taken advantage of by TransCanada. They’re people who just want to protect themselves and their families.”

The sense that legal means have failed to curb the landowner abuse inherent in the current eminent domain process is palpable. Gary Lynn Stuard, 54, of Dallas is no longer willing to wait for regulatory reform or judicial intervention: “We have exhausted all of the traditional avenues, and it’s not enough. It’s unjust that a multinational company can seize people’s property by proclaiming themselves a “common carrier” – that’s eminent domain abuse. It’s theft, and these peoples’ homes and land shouldn’t be ruined while decisions on what to do are put off.”

Mikey Lowe, 24, traveled from California to raise awareness of the tar sands carrier’s deception. “I feel that eminent domain has really gone too far. I really want to show [the world] what’s going on,” he shared.

Former Quinlan resident, Beverly Luff, 23, is primarily motivated by the threat that tar sands surface mining and extraction pose to the future of a livable climate. “The more people ignore it, the worse it will get. There’s only one planet, and we can’t afford to let dirty business interests cheat to win in East Texas or elsewhere.”

Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Today’s action comes on the heels of last week’s outside of Livingston, TX in which seven blockaders were arrested when four locked themselves to a truck delivering pipe segments to a Keystone XL construction site. Their successful nonviolent action stopped activity in the pipeyard for the day. In response, TransCanada claimed its pipeline was not to carry anything other than “crude oil,” which is factually inaccurate at best.

“TransCanada commits fraud when it lies about the substances in its toxic tar sands slurry pipeline,” explains Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson Ron Seifert. “East Texans have been documenting TransCanada’s deceit for over four years now. Rural and neighboring families have been treated as nothing more than collateral damage by industry, political and regulatory leaders on all sides of the aisle. The truth is TransCanada will do or say anything to ram this pipeline through, regardless of who gets hurt along the way.”

Stay with our LiveBlog for updates throughout the day!

Seven Texans Blockade Truck Carrying Keystone XL Pipe In Livingston, TX

Press Contact: Ron Seifert, 843-814-2796, ronseif@gmail.com

BREAKING: 4 Blockaders are Locked to Truck Carrying Keystone XL Pipeline in Livingston, TX!

Pipe truck stuck at entrance of yard, stopping construction on the Keystone XL pipeline

LIVINGSTON, TEXAS – August 28, 2012 – Just minutes ago four landowner advocates and climate justice organizers locked themselves to the underside of a massive truck carrying 36″ pipe intended for Keystone XL construction. The truck is parked, idled at the entrance of the pipeyard, rendering construction activity impossible. Seven blockaders total are onsite risking arrest. Blockaders from the Red River valley to the Gulf Coast and beyond have united to realize their collective vision of a world without toxic tar sands pipelines. Today’s message is clear: the people are rising up to defend their homes.

This act of peaceful civil disobedience comes in the wake of a recent court decision condoning TransCanada’s use of eminent domain for private gain. Last week Lamar County Judge Bill Harris ruled in a shockingly abbreviated fifteen-word summary judgment that Texas farmer Julia Trigg Crawford cannot challenge TransCanada’s claim that it is entitled to a piece of her home. The underwhelming ruling was emailed to Ms. Crawford’s attorney late in the evening of August 15 from the Judge’s iPhone.

The arrogant disregard levied at landowners like Julia Trigg Crawford for simply not consenting to have a tar sands pipeline permanently bisect their homes is what motivated Houston businessman Ray Torgerson to take action with the Blockade. “The fact that this corporation can check a box on a form and steal someone’s land is insulting,” Ray says. “We are here to defend our homes and stand with landowners like Julia.

Further emblematic of the disrespect small town families like the Crawfords have faced throughout Keystone XL legal proceedings, Ms. Crawford received first notice of the ruling from a reporter seeking comment who had been blind carbon copied on the County Judge’s email ruling.

“It was heartbreaking to hear a generational family farm like the Crawford’s can be taken away by a multinational corporation,” exclaims blockader Audrey Steiner, a linguistic anthropologist from Austin. “I’m here to change the direction our country is taking.”

The concerns of the blockaders today go well beyond TransCanada’s appalling contempt for property rights. As Tammie Carson, a lifelong Texan living in Arlington explains, “I’m doing this for my grandchildren. I’m outraged that multinational corporations like TransCanada are wrecking our climate. The planet isn’t theirs to destroy, and I’m willing to take a risk to protect my grandchildren’s future.”

Denny Hook, a retired minister from Gainesville Texas, describes himself as “An environmentalist that happens to be a minister.” In taking action today, Hook hopes to inspire more people to join the movement. “Things are so dire that if all of us don’t rise up we won’t make it. This pipeline is the difference between Earth on the edge and Earth over the edge.”

Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of Keystone XL.

“The blockade is an expression of people who have spent years using every available avenue afforded to them, and nothing has worked,” explains Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson Ron Seifert. “The urgency of this crisis is galvanizing supporters who understand that doing nothing involves a greater risk than taking action.”

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