Blockaders intent on shutting down construction of the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline ramped up their efforts Monday with their biggest protest yet.
The fight has been heating up for weeks (like, literally, with sheriffs using pepper spray and Tasers on some protesters). On Monday, more than 50 activists convened on TransCanada’s right-of-way and commenced a cat-and-mouse game with sheriffs. According to blockaders, 10 people were arrested. The video they produced on the day’s actions is intense even if you mute the clangy anarcho drum-circle soundtrack.
For the past few weeks, activists have maintained a tree-sit 70 feet above TransCanada’s easement in the small town of Winnsboro in east Texas — land the Calgary-based energy company obtained in part through eminent domain from less-than-thrilled owners, one of whom buried the $22,000 she received from TransCanada in a jar on her property. Those landowners have now teamed up with protesters from across the country, including some Hollywood personalities and great-grandmothers, to swarm and shut down TransCanada’s tar-sands pipeline operation.
From the Washington Post:
Keystone XL pipeline foes have tried petitioning the government, grabbing media attention and filing lawsuits. Now, with the southern leg of the pipeline under construction, they’re turning to civil disobedience — and actress Daryl Hannah.
(Because every non-hierarchical act of civil disobedience could use a flaxen-haired leading lady! [Half kidding!])
So far, protesters have been arrested on a variety of charges, from trespassing (often while delivering supplies to treesitters) to resisting arrest. TransCanada claims the protests have not delayed construction, but have filed a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) against the activists.
More from the Post:
Even among environmentalists, there is skepticism that a small number of activists can stop the southern leg of the pipeline at this point. But [Ron Seifert, spokesperson for the Tar Sands Blockade,] said he hoped the protests might attract national support and that the pipeline’s foes might still prevail in remaining court cases, including one filed by Texas rice farmers and an appeal by Julia Trigg Crawford, a family farm manager in north Texas.
“We’re not naive either,” Seifert said. “A handful of people on a day-to-day basis are not going to stop the Keystone XL. We’ve seen what a massive operation this is.”