Tar Sands Blockade, Sept. 19, 2012
[Warrior Publications Note: includes chronology of arrests, statements, a call to action and map of pipeline route]
UPDATE: 11:30AM – Five arrests made at Keystone XL construction site outside Winnsboro, Texas. Three brave blockaders locked to tree clear-cutting machinery delayed operations at the site for the morning.
Join us in celebrating our latest crew of brave blockaders: Doug is a former Exxon employee turned climate justice activist, Sam is an author of a pending book on Keystone XL, and R.C. is a proud mother who was arrestted today even though it means being away from her children for the day.
Show these blockaders your support! Please consider a generous donation to their jail support. Bail for five will likely be costly!
UPDATE: 11:30AM – David Hightower’s vineyard will not be cleared for the Keystone XL today, according to crews working there.
UPDATE: 10:40AM – Police have left the scene at David Hightower’s home.
UPDATE: 10:30AM – Police harassment and intimidation of protesters at David Hightower’s home. Three protesters holding signs on the public right of way next to Hightower’s home were threatened with arrest repeatedly, but are within their legal right to demonstrate.
UPDATE: 9:45AM – Police have taken signs from Tar Sands Blockade supporters standing vigil in David Hightower’s front yard. They are threatening arrests.
UPDATE: 9:30AM – While three blockaders are shutting down a Keystone XL construction site others are defending David Hightower’s home. Construction crews have arrived at Mr. Hightower’s to begin clear-cutting his trees and home vineyard. Tar Sands Blockade supporters are in David’s front yard continuing our vigil
UPDATE 9AM – Franklin County Sheriff and County Constable are on the scene at the construction yard. The sheriff tried to use hacksaw on blockader’s locking device and gave up in frustration.
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 in 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.
Ron Seifert, 843-814-2796, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramsey Sprague, 682-556-0553, email@example.com
A Call to Action: Stop the Keystone XL
Friends, comrades, and allies:
In the heartland of Texas, camped in the backwoods among armadillos and water moccasins and deeply rooted small farmers and ranchers, we at Tar Sands Blockade are engaged in what may be the largest direct action battle of our time. We are mobile, skilled and powerful, and though we number in the dozens, the magnitude of what we face demands a call to action.
As many of you know, Tar Sands mining is the most ecologically destructive project on planet Earth, and the Keystone XL pipeline is a major piece of infrastructure that will allow for greater Tar Sands extraction and profit. The pipeline is proposed through over 2100 miles of farmland, forest and prairie in eight states and provinces and likely oil spills from this threaten much of North America’s water table including the massive Ogllala aquifer. For more on the issue visit
TransCanada is a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation with the government on their side. They have a history of leakages from their pipelines. We are aligned against this enemy in an unlikely coalition of allies: local residents fighting eminent-domain land seizures, forest defense veterans, conservatives concerned about corporate/government intrusion on family lands, liberals concerned about climate change, and radical blockaders directly doing battle with the behemoth.
Our adversary is everywhere. They are building this pipeline as we speak, in many different places at once. Clearing crews are mowing down swaths of trees, some over a century old, and tearing up farmland right next to people’s homes and water sources. It’s a massive project but we still anticipate stopping them at some key points that can ideally shut down the entire
operation. We can’t fight them everywhere but are trying our damnedest, and need a lot of help.
We are utilizing a true diversity of tactics in this fight, including community cookouts, lockdowns, public rallies, meme warfare, arboreal dwellings, roving bands of mischief-makers, and more.
We need all skill sets, including: videographers and media specialists, medics, chefs, vehicle mechanics, tree-sitters and riggers, lockdowners, forest scouts, community organizers, welders, carpenters, and badasses of all trades.
The most important thing is to come down here and plug in, but other ways to help include publicizing the Tar Sands Blockade on Facebook, Twitter etc., donating and/or raising funds and supplies including climbing gear, holding teach-ins in your bioregion, organizing solidarity actions against TransCanada and their enablers, and just generally spreading the word to help us increase our numbers as quickly as possible.
We are a small crew of Earth First!ers and eco-anarchists engaged in tactical elements of the larger Tar Sands Blockade campaign. We’re requesting help from you, our comrades, to come join us as quickly as possible. If you have questions or want to discuss this at all, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
See y’all in the woods!