Eight activists trying to block construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline have moved into a tree fort in North Texas until developer TransCanada abandons the project. They took up their positions 80 feet above the ground on Monday.
Two other Tar Sands Blockade activists Tuesday afternoon were arrested after chaining themselves to a backhoe at a construction site near Winnsboro, Texas.
The group is a coalition of Oklahoma and Texas landowners dedicated to using nonviolent direct action to stop the pipeline because of the risks it poses to the environment.
“The risk of inaction is far greater than the risk of taking action – even risky action like this,” Tar Sands Blockade spokesman Ron Seifert said. “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.”
TransCanada has secured the necessary permits for the 485-mile pipeline between Cushing’s oil storage hub and refineries along the Gulf Coast.
“TransCanada’s immediate concern is for the safety of the individuals who have placed themselves in harm’s way, as well as ensuring the safety of our staff and contractors,” a spokesman said Monday. “We are also concerned about the safety and economic welfare of thousands of Americans working on this $2.3 billion project. If the protestors had their way, thousands of people trying to provide for their families would be thrown out of work.”
Construction of the pipeline continues at several other locations along its route.