Tag Archive for 'rising-tide-north-texas'

Meanwhile In Texas: Forty Blockaders Walk Onto TransCanada Worksite Near Nacogdoches, Launch Ground & Aerial Blockades

Meanwhile in Texas, the Tar Sands Blockade has launched more blockades today as part of the national day of action against the Keystone XL pipeline. Right now, climbers are in aerial blockades attached to TransCanada equipment and ground blockaders are locked down to more equipment (despite police using pepper spray to force them to unlock.)

Follow the live blog.

Pics here.

Here’s the press release:

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

Day of Action Sees Dozens Walk On to Work Site as the Nacogdoches Community Rallies with Affected Landowners at Lake Nacogdoches to Protect Fresh Water Supply from Toxic Tar Sands

*NACOGDOCHES, TX – MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2012 8:00AM –* 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. Continue reading ‘Meanwhile In Texas: Forty Blockaders Walk Onto TransCanada Worksite Near Nacogdoches, Launch Ground & Aerial Blockades’

Thirty National & International Groups Call For Support Of the Tar Sands Blockade

I’m very excited to have been able to have worked on getting this letter of support the Tar Sands Blockade together.

They are the flagship of what is going on in the climate movement today. It’s so important that the rest of us that can’t be there have their backs and support their non-violent direct campaign in whatever way we can. Right now, police and prosecutors respond to blockaders with violence and trumped up charges and TransCanada responds with reckless disregard for the safety of protestors as well as lawsuits.

Right now, we need to respond with “a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

An Open Letter In Support Of the Tar Sands Blockade

Dear Friends,

As we write, our friends with the Tar Sands Blockade are blocking construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in the woods of Texas. For the past six months they have built a movement of climate activists, rural landowners, Texans, Oklahomans and people from all over the country to fiercely resist it. For two weeks, they have captured the imagination of the world with a daring tree- sit and bold ground actions near Winnsboro, TX that have delayed TransCanada’s operations.

TransCanada has responded by allowing its employees to operate their heavy machines with reckless disregard for the safety of protestors and tree-sitters. Police have responded with brutal means such as pepper-spray and Tasers against peaceful protestors. Prosecutors have responded with elevated charges.

It is clear what is at stake. NASA’s leading climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has called the Keystone XL pipeline, “a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet.” If all the carbon stored in the Canadian tar sands is released into the earth’s atmosphere it will mean “game over” for the planet.

In 2011, we saw the Tar Sands Action galvanize environmental and social justice communities in an unprecedented show of unity during the sit-ins in front of the White House. Every day members of Indigenous communities, faith communities, labor communities, anti-mountaintop removal movements, anti-fracking movements and many more stepped forward and put their bodies on the line in solidarity. In the year since, we have witnessed people from the Lakota nation in South Dakota and from Moscow, Idaho putting their bodies in roads and highways blocking large transport trucks carrying oil refining equipment to develop further tar sands extraction. Now, the Tar Sands Blockade has taken the next logical step confronting climate change.

If we are determined to prevent the pursuit of extreme energy from destroying our communities, natural systems and climate, then peaceful, yet confrontational, protests like the Tar Sands Blockade are necessary actions for change. Continue reading ‘Thirty National & International Groups Call For Support Of the Tar Sands Blockade’

TransCanada Actively Encouraged Torture Tactics to be Used on Peaceful Protestors

This is outrageous! TransCanada sits by and tells police to torture peaceful protestors handcuffed.

TransCanada Actively Encouraged Torture Tactics to be Used on Peaceful Protestors

Yesterday two Texans, Shannon Bebe and Benjamin Franklin, were subjected to torture tactics at the hands of police under the active encouragement of TransCanada senior supervisors. Bebe and Franklin were exercising their constitutional rights to nonviolent protest when they locked themselves to Keystone XL construction machinery outside Winnsboro, Texas and delayed construction for most of the day. Police began using aggressive pain compliance tactics when a senior TransCanada supervisor named John arrived and actively encouraged it. Torture tactics included; sustained chokeholds, violent arm-twisting, pepper spray, and multiple uses of Tasers, all while blockaders where in handcuffs.

Immediately following TransCanada’s consultation, law enforcement handcuffed the protesters’ free hands to the heavy machinery in stress positions and then subjected to repeated torture tactics by four police officers while TransCanada employees stood by and watched.

With the news that their friends had been tortured with TransCanada’s approval, the eight original tree sitters were bravely joined by another, expanding the tree blockade further as TransCanada’s clear-cutting heavy machinery rapidly approaches. Construction is roughly 300 yards away from the tree blockade. All refuse to come down until TransCanada halts its dangerous pipeline project.

Extraordinarily, despite their torture, the two endured for over five hours, affirming their courageous stance that taking action now is less of a risk than doing nothing. Watch the coverage on Democracy Now!

“As someone who has a religious dedication to nonviolence, I have a duty to assist nonviolent tactics. This is a path to change that works. Despite everything that happened at the direction of TransCanada, I don’t regret my involvement at all. I encourage everyone to persevere in the face of this type of sheer brutality. To follow one’s moral compass in spite of extreme challenges is the way we move forward towards a more humane, tar sands-free planet,” Franklin said after he was tortured Tuesday.

A plain-clothes police officer was among the aggressive officers to implement torture tactics. He put Franklin in a chokehold cutting off his breathing, and bent him over backwards in an attempt to make him pass out. Franklin reports difficulty swallowing because of bruises sustained to his esophagus.

The most physically aggressive was the ranking officer, a Lieutenant with the Wood County Sheriff Department under the observation of TransCanada employees. He twisted and contorted the tube that Bebe and Franklin had locked their arms into, cutting off circulation to their hands and cutting abrasions into their hands and forearms. Continue reading ‘TransCanada Actively Encouraged Torture Tactics to be Used on Peaceful Protestors’

BREAKING: Eight People Climb Trees And Start Indefinite Tree Sit to Stop Keystone XL

Originally posted by the Tar Sands Blockade

Eight people climbed 80 feet into trees in the path of Keystone XL construction, and pledged not to come down until the pipeline is stopped for good. Construction cannot proceed until tree-sitters descend and TransCanada clear-cuts through hundreds of trees to make way for the toxic tar sands pipeline.

The blockade is carefully organized to ensure that everyone sitting in the trees can remain safe as long as TransCanada does not attempt to continue clear-cutting the trees. These ardent advocates of landowner’s rights and climate justice have the safety equipment and food supplies to last indefinitely. Help spread this breaking story  on Facebook and Twitter.

“Today I climbed a tree in the path of Keystone XL to demand TransCanada stop construction of this dirty and dangerous pipeline. This pipeline is a disaster for everyone it touches, from the cancer tar sands extraction is causing indigenous communities, to the water poisoned by inevitable tar sands spills, to the landowners whose land has been seized, and to everyone that will be affected by climate change,” said Mary Washington, one of the Tar Sands Blockade members sitting in a tree.

Show your support for Mary and our seven other blockaders with a generous donation to help keep them supplied with food and water.

It’s not easy to see our friends disappear up a tree, exposed to the elements, and not know when we will see them again. But knowing what this pipeline is doing to our neighbors and the planet, we are more resolved than ever to keep fighting this pipeline by whatever means we can.

This blockade is a continuation of an unprecedented summer of actions against fossil fuel infrastructure across America, from Montana to Ohio to New York. As a record heat wave baked the country, Americans stood up in unheard of numbers to oppose fossil fuels that are contributing to climate change. Join this growing movement when you sign up now to join one of our upcoming actions. If you were thinking about coming to Texas, now is the time!

 “Climate change killed half a billion trees in Texas last year–and if TransCanada cuts these down, than the dirty oil they send down the pipeline will trigger yet more out-of-control warming,” said climate activist Bill McKibben, who helped lead huge protests in Washington, DC against the pipeline last fall. Continue reading ‘BREAKING: Eight People Climb Trees And Start Indefinite Tree Sit to Stop Keystone XL’

Tar Sands Blockade Stops Work at Keystone XL Site Near Saltillo, TX

And the the Tar Sands Blockade strikes again! Three Tar Sands Blockaders (with two support folks) have locked down onto construction equipment near Saltillo, TX.

The blockaders have been locked down for several hours now, the work site is closed and TransCanada has sent 20 workers home.

Now we’re hearing reports that police have left the scene with the blockade intact!

Dontcha wanna join the Tar Sands Blockade?

Landowner advocates lock selves to feller buncher machines in KXL easement’s path of destruction!

SALTILLO, TEXAS – September 5, 2012, 7AM – Three landowner advocates and climate justice organizers have locked themselves to feller buncher machines used for clearing large trees in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline. Today’s action has halted work on a segment of TransCanada’s illegitimate pipeline outside of Saltillo, TX. As promised, Tar Sands Blockade’s rolling campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience pushes forward.

Five blockaders total are currently risking arrest to stop work on this segment of the Keystone XL pipeline. Contractors discovered their presence early in the work day, and work at the site was called off shortly thereafter. 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.

Tar Sands Blockade’s landowner solidarity actions hit home with 22 year old Houston-born blockader, Sarah Reid. “This pipeline affects me, my friends and my family directly. The toxic contents threaten the water we drink, the air we breathe.” Reid, who traces her Texan ancestry back to Obedience Smith, the first female settler to own land in Texas, continues, “Out in East Texas, the landowners I’ve met are honest, hard working people who have been taken advantage of by TransCanada. They’re people who just want to protect themselves and their families.”

The sense that legal means have failed to curb the landowner abuse inherent in the current eminent domain process is palpable. Gary Lynn Stuard, 54, of Dallas is no longer willing to wait for regulatory reform or judicial intervention: “We have exhausted all of the traditional avenues, and it’s not enough. It’s unjust that a multinational company can seize people’s property by proclaiming themselves a “common carrier” – that’s eminent domain abuse. It’s theft, and these peoples’ homes and land shouldn’t be ruined while decisions on what to do are put off.” Continue reading ‘Tar Sands Blockade Stops Work at Keystone XL Site Near Saltillo, TX’

BREAKING: Seven Texans Arrested Blockading Truck Carrying Keystone XL Pipeline

All I gotta say is: Let the games begin!

Reposted from the Tar Sands Blockade.

**1:15pm–Final blockader arrested. 7 brave people shut down #KeystoneXL construction for the day! Dissembled pipe truck still blocking the entrance of the pipeyard.

** 1:10PM – Police are dismantling truck axle. One blockader is holding tight! The 3 others have been arrested. 1 of 6 arrested so far is a journalist.

**11:20am–Four Blockaders Arrested! Sheriff deputies and state troopers on the scene

**10:00AM – Four Blockaders Have Locked Themselves to a Pipe-carrying Truck In Livingston, TX, bringing construction on the Keystone XL pipeline to a stop!!

**Lock down activists video testimonials.

Just minutes ago four landowner advocates and climate justice organizers have locked themselves to the underside of a massive truck carrying 36″ pipe intended for Keystone XL construction. The truck is parked, idled at the entrance of the pipeyard, rendering construction activity impossible. Seven blockaders total are onsite risking arrest. We will be getting photos and video throughout the day, but check out our testimonial video below of some of today’s blockade participants.

Blockaders from the Red River valley to the Gulf Coast are uniting to realize their collective vision of a world without toxic tar sands pipelines being forced through the homes of families who don’t want them. Today’s message is clear: the people are rising up to defend their homes.

This act of peaceful civil disobedience comes in the wake of a recent court decision condoning TransCanada’s use of eminent domain for private gain. Last week Lamar County Judge Bill Harris ruled in a shockingly abbreviated fifteen-word summary judgment that Texas farmer Julia Trigg Crawford cannot challenge TransCanada’s claim that it is entitled to a piece of her home. The underwhelming ruling was emailed to Ms. Crawford’s attorney late in the evening of August 15 from the Judge’s iPhone.

**Live Blog: Visit this page throughout the day for breaking updates on actions happening in the region.

Continue reading ‘BREAKING: Seven Texans Arrested Blockading Truck Carrying Keystone XL Pipeline’

A Call to Action To Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline

Collage of Resistance, via tarsandsblockade.org

Cross-posted from tarsandsblockade.org

By Ben Kessler

Join thousands of others in taking a courageous stand against the dark tide of fossil fuels that threatens our life on this planet, and sign up to take action at tarsandsblockade.org. All of us have different stories that lead us to this place, but we share in being inspired, hopeful, and determined to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

Now, it is time for our stories to join together and bend the arc of history towards a future without tar sands.  We are issuing a call – starting this September, your company is needed in Texas.  The path ahead requires great courage. The odds are stacked against us; money is overwhelmingly tipped in TransCanada’s favor. But we can win – we plan to win.

As we recently announced, construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL, running through Oklahoma and Texas, has begun. Our task is clear: through peaceful and sustained direct action, we are going to bring construction to a halt – permanently. Of some things we can be sure: It will be difficult. It will be hot. Many of us will be arrested. Our resolve will be tested and our commitment strained. The government and the corporations know this, and they will try to exploit it; they are determined to see us fail. What they aren’t equipped to deal with is our joy, our resolve and our passion. No force on Earth can make us forget what is at stake. No violence, no repression, no method at their disposal can extinguish our belief that the future of life on Earth depends on us uniting to put an end to the tyranny of oil.

Let’s be clear about what is at stake. The Alberta Tar Sands is a reservoir of extreme fossil fuels vast enough to single-handedly spell death for the climate, if we are foolish enough to extract and burn it. The nearly 2000-mile path of the Keystone XL pipeline, Big Oil’s tar sands-transporting monstrosity, will create a permanent environmental disaster zone, bringing ruin to countless communities and threatening the health and water supply of millions. The carbon contained in this filthy resource will rocket us past all meaningful tipping points, sending our atmosphere into a catastrophic spiral of warming. Ice caps will melt and our temperate plains will turn to deserts as our food supply cooks and half of the species on this Earth fade into the eternal sleep of extinction. Continue reading ‘A Call to Action To Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline’

Tar Sands Blockade Calls For Non-Violent Direct Action In Texas To Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline

As a fourth generation Texan, I got nothing but smiles for the direct action campaign being launched in my home state. This morning, the Tar Sands Blockade and Rising Tide North Texas put out a call for actions to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline being built from Cushing, OK to Texas’ Gulf Coast.

Check out the press release:

Contact: Ron Seifert: 843-814-2796 and at ronseif@gmail.com

A Call for Nonviolent Direct Action to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline from the Tar Sands Blockade

Texas—This summer, environmental activists from across the country will be converging in Texas to blockade the Gulf Coast portion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Tar Sands Blockade will be coordinating nonviolent direct actions along the pipeline route to stop the zombie pipeline once and for all. We are working with national allies as well as local communities to coordinate a road show that will travel throughout Texas and Oklahoma as well as a regional training effort for activists interested in getting involved in the blockade movement against the Keystone XL.

“Our action is giving a new meaning to ‘Don’t Mess with Texas,’ says Tar Sands Blockade Collective Member Benjamin Kessler. Kessler is also a member of Rising Tide North Texas and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Continue reading ‘Tar Sands Blockade Calls For Non-Violent Direct Action In Texas To Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline’

Playing Nice In The Sandbox?

Ben Kessler at the Tar Sands Action last fall. via We Are Powershift.

I’ve been organizing campaigns and non-violent direct actions for a long time. Over ten years now. Most of the time, I hear stories about the screwed up things our government and corporations do and I take it in stride. Every once in a while, something pops and it gets under my skin. A lot.

Case in point.

This week, the Ft. Worth Weekly (Ft. Worth’s alt weekly) posted a follow up story to last month’s Washington Post expose about the FBI investigating Rising Tide North Texas, anti-fracking activists in Denton, TX, my friend and comrade Ben Kessler and his professor at the University of North Texas Adam Briggle.

The reporter, Andrew McLemore, provided more details about the FBI and Dallas Police Dept.’s conversations with Briggle:

“The law enforcement officers asked Briggle about his involvement with the Denton Stakeholder Drilling Advisory Group, a group of residents lobbying the city council to stop issuing permits for gas drilling until potential environmental impacts are studied.

The agent and police officer also asked the professor about Kessler, who took his ethical theory course, and about some of his assigned readings. Oh, and they also asked him about IEDs, improvised explosive devices of the sort used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“A question like that is so out of left field, it just sort of stuns you,” Briggle said. “It seemed like this was about Ben, not me. …  The Dallas police guy said they just wanted to make sure everyone was ‘playing nice in the sandbox.’ ” Continue reading ‘Playing Nice In The Sandbox?’


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