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!

The Time Has Come: A Call to Action Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

Originally posted on tarsandsblockade.org

The Time Has Come: A Call to Action

By Ben Kessler

By signing up to take action at tarsandsblockade.org, you joined thousands of others in taking a courageous stand against the dark tide of fossil fuels that threatens our life on this planet.  All of us have different stories that lead us to this place, but we share in being inspired, hopeful, and determined to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

Now, it is time for our stories to join together and bend the arc of history towards a future without tar sands.  We are issuing a call – starting this September, your courage is needed in Texas.  The path ahead requires great courage. The odds are stacked against us; money is overwhelmingly tipped in TransCanada’s favor. But we can win – we plan to win.

As we recently announced, construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL, running through Oklahoma and Texas, has begun. Our task is clear: through peaceful and sustained direct action, we are going to bring construction to a halt – permanently. Of some things we can be sure: It will be difficult. It will be hot. Many of us will be arrested. Our resolve will be tested and our commitment strained. The government and the corporations know this, and they will try to exploit it; they are determined to see us fail. What they aren’t equipped to deal with is our joy, our resolve and our passion. No force on Earth can make us forget what is at stake. No violence, no repression, no method at their disposal can extinguish our belief that the future of life on Earth depends on us uniting to put an end to the tyranny of oil.

Let’s be clear about what is at stake. The Alberta Tar Sands is a reservoir of extreme fossil fuels vast enough to single-handedly spell death for the climate, if we are foolish enough to extract and burn it. The nearly 2000-mile path of the Keystone XL pipeline, Big Oil’s tar sands-transporting monstrosity, will create a permanent environmental disaster zone, bringing ruin to countless communities and threatening the health and water supply of millions. The carbon contained in this filthy resource will rocket us past all meaningful tipping points, sending our atmosphere into a catastrophic spiral of warming. Ice caps will melt and our temperate plains will turn to deserts as our food supply cooks and half of the species on this Earth fade into the eternal sleep of extinction.

This simply will not stand. The situation is too dire to wait for political or economic solutions.  When you join the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas, be assured that you are joining a movement that intends to win. We believe the time for symbolic arrests to prove a point has passed, and our strategy reflects this belief. With wood and concrete, stone and water, steel and flesh, we will pit our bodies and our spirits against the engines of destruction. One day at a time, we will mire TransCanada in a struggle that will give new meaning to the term “sustained direct action”.  Nothing less can accomplish our goal.

Let’s face it, the environmental movement has been losing. We have been losing because we refuse to be honest with ourselves. Small campaigns, small goals, and small actions aren’t enough. Community organizing to resist fossil fuels will always serve as the foundation for our movement. But if we are to defeat the biggest and most destructive energy projects, we are going to have to find a way past the failing status quo. Tar Sands Action set a new precedent for civil disobedience actions in this movement. It had the right idea, the right vision, but a flawed political analysis. Now we know that the corporations won’t stop unless we make them stop.

In 2011, political prisoner Tim DeChristopher shared his vision of ending Mountaintop Removal with a massive, rolling wave of mine site occupations. It is clear that a similar effort will be required to bring down the KXL. We know that Texas is a long journey for some, and that the privilege of leaving work isn’t available to everyone. We want you to come because this is not just another action. If we succeed, we will redefine the fight for a livable future in this country.  Following in the footsteps of the largest climate civil disobedience actions in decades, there can be no doubt that it is time for the largest disruption of fossil fuel business as usual.

With your participation, Tar Sands Blockade will turn the tide against TransCanada, and make other fossil fuel giants think twice before trying to trample the dignity, health, and autonomy of our communities and ecosystems. We can’t do it without you.

This is a pivotal moment in history, and it is unlikely that there has ever been a more important fight in the history of our species. Our actions right now will determine whether our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren and the countless generations to come, long after we have turned to dust, have a living and healthy planet to thrive on. We recognize the gravity of the situation. We understand the magnitude of the challenge we face. We embrace the courage we must summon. We acknowledge the sacrifices that must be made. We are ready. We ask only that you join us.