BREAKING: 40 People Stop Keystone XL Construction: Four Lock to Machinery, Nacogdoches Student and Two Others Launch a New Tree Blockade


Today, four people locked themselves to heavy machinery used along the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline route. They were joined by several others forming a human chain to block the movement of heavy machinery onsite, while more than 30 people walked onto the same construction site to halt work early this morning.Meanwhile, three others launched a new tree blockade at a crossing of the Angelina River, suspending themselves from 50 foot pine trees with life
lines anchored to heavy machinery, effectively blocking the entirety of
Keystone XL’s path. Today’s Day of Action is in solidarity with local
landowners struggling to protect their water and land from TransCanada’s
toxic tar sands pipeline.

Keystone XL would cross 16 large rivers in Texas, including the site of
today’s latest tree blockade, the scenic Angelina River. Nestled amongst 50
foot pine trees in forested bottomlands, the tree blockaders have settled
in for a long standoff in protection of their fresh drinking and
agricultural water. The waters downstream feed into the popular Sam Rayburn
Reservoir, the largest lake entirely within the state of Texas, renowned
for its angling opportunities and competitions.

“Tar Sands Blockade stands with all communities affected by the Canadian
tar sands. From indigenous nations in Alberta, Canada to the besieged
refinery neighborhoods of the American Gulf Coast where the tar sands will
be refined, there’s a groundswell of resistance demanding an end to toxic
tar sands exploitation. Today’s events simply mark the latest in our
sustained, community-based civil disobedience campaign, and many more
communities are destined to rise up to defend their homes from
TransCanada’s fraud, bullying, and reckless endangerment of their lives and
fresh water,” insisted Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson.

Included amongst the Angelina tree sitters is local Stephen F. Austin State
University student, Lizzy Alvarado, 21, an Austin-born, third-year
cinematography major. Leading outdoor excursions for other local youth and
having helped found the Nacogdoches Rat Skulls, an all female
cycling-advocacy organization, Alvarado is an active member of the
Nacogdoches community.

“I climbed this tree in honor of all the landowners who have been bullied
mercilessly into signing easement contracts and who were then silenced
through fear by TransCanada’s threat of endless litigation. That’s not what
this country stands for in my mind, and if we don’t take a stand here to
secure our rights now, then it will keep happening to everyone,” proclaimed
Alvarado. “What’s happening isn’t just threatening my community’s drinking
water but it will threaten that of all communities along the pipeline’s

While these multisite actions halted Keystone XL construction this morning,
local community members rallied at Lake Nacogdoches to further highlight
the threats Keystone XL poses to the community’s watershed and public
health. These events around the Nacogdoches area coincide with a week’s
worth of events in solidarity with Tar Sands Blockade. Scheduled to occur
in over 40 communities around the world, these actions highlight the urgent
need to address the climate crisis.

Some actions have targeted policy makers or financial institutions
bankrolling dirty energy projects while others rallied to address the
damage done by Hurricane Sandy through community organizing and connecting extreme weather to extreme extraction. Yesterday in Washington, DC, more than 3,000 gathered at the White House to call on President Obama to reject the permit for the northern segment of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Other actions are scheduled to happen today and later this week.

Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and
climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil
disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar
sands pipeline.

“From the Sandy-decimate streets of New York City to these piney woods here
in East Texas, communities are resisting dangerous corporations like
TransCanada. These solidarity actions are part of a burgeoning movement of
ordinary folks coming together in their neighborhoods, schools, and
community centers to draw the connections between extreme extraction like
tar sands exploitation and extreme weather like the droughts devastating
farmers and ranchers all over Texas and the Midwest. Today we rally to
build a future where all people and the planet are healthy and thriving,”
said Kim Huynh, a spokesperson for the Tar Sands Blockade.

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