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2012-08-15 / Viewpoints

Tar Sands Blockade Drops Banners to Expose Keystone XL Construction

Environmental Advocates and Tea Party Supporters Build Unlikely Alliance to Challenge Tar Sands Pipeline and Eminent Domain.
Ron Seifert (843) – 814 – 2796 ronseif@gmail.com

TEXAS—TransCanada recently broke ground on the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline despite more than four years of contention by farmers, ranchers, and local communities in Texas and Oklahoma. The tar sands giant quietly began setting up staging areas for construction, and today, in response, members of the grassroots organization Tar Sands Blockade are launching a nonviolent civil disobedience campaign to stop this dangerous pipeline. The Blockade is working with landowners to prevent the Keystone XL from carving up their homes and permanently scarring thousands of acres of private lands.

In a courageous display of principle, Tar Sands Blockade supporters unfurled banners at pipeline construction sites in East Texas, announcing their intention of taking personal risk to stop TransCanada’s toxic land grab.

“Today, we’re launching our sustained campaign of civil disobedience to stop Keystone XL,” says Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson Ron Seifert. “We are proud to support landowners who have had their rights trampled by this multinational corporation.” 

Early this morning in East Texas, organizers braved bulldozers to unravel a banner reading: “No Tar Sands In Texas.” These actions were echoed by other blockade supporters in Cushing, Okla., where TransCanada’s recently re-branded “Gulf Coast Segment” begins. Demonstrators stood in stark contrast next to the “Welcome to Cushing” sign--a symbol of the oil industry’s grip over the region.

Events today will also include actions in Dallas and Houston in solidarity with landowners who say TransCanada has bullied and manipulated them through the use of eminent domain for private gain.

“TransCanada lied to me from day one,” says Susan Scott, a landowner in East Texas whose land has been expropriated. “I worked 37 years for my farm, and TransCanada believes it is entitled to a piece of my home.”

Organizers with the Tar Sands Blockade are taking a stand, demonstrating their commitment to protect the public’s health, safety, and constitutional rights, and to preserve the integrity of the environment that supports local communities across the region.

"In the midst of record heat and drought, this just adds insult to injury," says 350.org founder Bill McKibben."More risk, more carbon, more heat--all the things farmers and ranchers don't need." 

The message is clear across the political spectrum, from Tea Partiers to environmentalists, we are uniting to resist the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It is truly an abomination that a country I fought in a foreign war for would let a Canadian corporation come in, bully us around, and take land that is a sanctuary to my family, not to mention possibly annihilate us by contaminating our water supply when this pipe leaks,” says Gabriel Cordova, a veteran and lifelong conservative whose home the pipeline would permanently bisect. “We ought to be protecting both our natural resources and our constitutional rights, not Canadian corporations.”

These frontline communities have tried everything to protect themselves, including circulating petitions, testifying at hearings, and meeting with their elected officials. Sadly, these efforts are met with silence from politicians and industry representatives.

“TransCanada is putting families that wanted nothing to do with this pipeline in harm’s way,” says Seifert. “Since our leaders and representatives will do nothing to protect our friends and neighbors, the Tar Sands Blockade is calling for people everywhere to join us and defend our local communities from a multinational bully.”

The Blockade campaign is part of a burgeoning civil disobedience movement against fossil fuel extraction across the nation. Residents defending against mountaintop removal coal strip-mining in West Virginia, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in OhioPennsylvania, and New York, as well as coal exportation from Montana are confronting abuse and contamination on the part of dirty energy industries operating in their communities.  



Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of landowners and organizers from across the country using nonviolent civil disobedience to physically stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. For more information visit:http://tarsandsblockade.org

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