Two People Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery to Defend Eight People in Tree Village

Two People Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery to Defend Eight People in Tree Village

Two Texas-born Tar Sands Blockaders have locked themselves to a critical piece of machinery for Keystone XL construction in order to protect a tree village occupied by eight people in the tar sands pipeline’s path of devastation outside Winnsboro,Texas. The two landowner advocates and climate justice organizers are risking arrest to delay deforesting work along the Keystone XL pipeline’s path, which threatens to destroy a magnificent tree village on property that TransCanada now claims ownership of through court action. The machinery involved, a backhoe, was being used to build a bridge across a gully in the massive path of destruction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. WIthout the bridge construction has effectively been halted for the day.

TransCanada’s heavy machinery has clear-cut its way within just over 300 yards of the 80-foot tall tree house village occupied by landowner advocates in the pathway of Keystone XL just outside Winnsboro, Texas. The eight people in trees have held strong despite the advancing roar of TransCanada’s clear cutting machinery and are determined to hold their blockade as long as needed.

This action is to protect the eight people sitting in trees, as their blockade enters its second day – the longest halt to construction since Tar Sands Blockade, which organized the tree sit, began in August.

Lake Dallas, Texas-born blockader Shannon Bebe, 26, has united with Houston-native and small business owner, Benjamin Franklin, 34, to support rural and neighboring communities who feel abused by TransCanada’s extremely aggressive land grabs and threatened by their toxic pipeline’s diluted bitumen slurry.

Franklin, whose family traces its lineage to pre-independence Texas, relates, “As someone who has a religious dedication to nonviolence, I have a duty to assist nonviolent tactics. This is a path to change that works. I had a childhood spent in the piney woods of Texas, and they contain a beauty that haunts me, still. Driving up here and then walking amongst the trees and their sitters reminded me of the beauty I experienced in childhood. That in and of itself is reason to be here defending it.”

He continues, “The theft and destruction of people’s homes, the contamination that’s likely to occur once the pipeline is completed, and the release of the carbon bomb that is the Athabascan tar sands formation make the need for action now unignorable.”

Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We have already successfully shut down Keystone XL construction for about two-and-a-half days in LivingstonSaltillo, and Winnsboro.

Watch the high energy video from our recent actions and sign up to join us.

“The risk of inaction is far greater than the risk of taking action – even risky action like this,” suggests Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “We are committed to undertaking a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction of Keystone XL, and Tar Sands Blockade will continue to protect the Winnsboro tree village. It is a symbol of all the homes and families crudely threatened by this tar sands pipeline. Sometimes, one must simply stand one’s ground in the face of eminent threats like those posed by this dangerous pipeline in order protect the health and safety of their families, loved ones, and that of their neighbors.”

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.

Share this story on Facebook and Twitter.

Press Contact:

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

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

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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