09.23.2012 2

Anti-Energy Activists Form Human Chain to Block Keystone Pipeline Construction in Texas

Oil DrillingBy Kevin Mooney — “Another Delay!” “Another Victory!”

That’s how environmental activists describe efforts in Saltillo, Texas aimed at scuttling production of the Keystone Pipeline XL in the Southwestern U.S.

Since this portion of the pipeline does not extend across an international border, President Obama cannot step in to delay construction. TransCanada, the pipeline company based in Alberta, has settled upon a gradual, incremental approach to construction in lieu of U.S. approval for extending the line out of Canada. The Keystone project would provide multiple locations in the U.S. with access to crude oil from the tar sands in Canada. But an organization called “Tar Sands Blockade” is working tenaciously to block construction that could ultimately connect Americans with access to cheap, affordable energy in a stable, friendly region of the world.

Activists are now chaining themselves to equipment in Texas that would be used to build the pipeline. A Sept. 5 press release from “Tar Sands Blockade” claims these efforts have been met with “considerable success.” It reads as follows:

“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.”

There was just one small trip up that was reported on KLTV, a local television news station: “TransCanada says the protestors chained themselves to a third-party contractor’s equipment that was not going to be used today.” The report goes on to say that construction proceeded elsewhere in Texas without interruption.

Tar Sands Blockade describes itself as 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.

“TransCanada commits fraud when it lies about the substances in its toxic tar sands slurry pipeline,” Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson Ron Seifert, has told members of the press. “East Texans have been documenting TransCanada’s deceit for over four years now. Rural and neighboring families have been treated as nothing more than collateral damage by industry, political and regulatory leaders on all sides of the aisle. The truth is TransCanada will do or say anything to ram this pipeline through, regardless of who gets hurt along the way.”

As it turns out, TransCanada has already modified its plans with an eye toward environmental considerations. The new route avoids Sandhills region of Nebraska, which is viewed as being highly sensitive. It also bypasses areas with endangered species. The U.S. State Department recently weighed in and declared the pipeline “would have a degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system.”

“This protest isn’t about protecting the environment,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).  “This is about President Obama and his allies seemingly putting every interest above the interests and needs of the American people.”

Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinMooneyDC.

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