Lockdown! Activists Paralyze Keystone XL Machinery in Texas
On Wednesday morning in Winnsboro, Texas, Tar Sands Blockade confirmed that three landowner and climate justice advocates had successfully locked themselves to a piece of machinery critical for Keystone XL construction.
Blockaders attached themselves to a massive wood chipper and a skidder, both used in clear cutting trees in the path of the toxic pipeline, once more delaying 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.
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, 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.”
Another blockader, 36-year-old Amarillo-born R.C.Saldaña-Flores, explains, “As a mother and step-grandmother, I want to be able to tell my children that I did something when the time came. 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 Sam Avery, who is author of the forthcoming book, "The Pipeline and the Paradigm: Keystone XL and the Rise of Global Consciousness," affirmed that sometimes people must create an obstruction to facilitate necessary discussion about our collective future.
“I don’t believe it’s too late. We have time,” Avery says. “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.”
The 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. And based on the successive -- and successful -- direct actions in recent weeks, including shutdowns on the pipeline's construction in both Saltillo and Livingston, Tx., one thing is clear: people power works.
For more information, to get involved or to donate money that helps sustain these actions, please visit tarsandsblockade.org.