Keystone XL Aerial Tree Blockade Halts Construction in Diboll, TX


UPDATE: 12:45 pm – Audrey demands to speak with county commissioners about stopping Keystone XL

From her perch in the trees, Audrey has demanded to talk to the county commissioners about stopping the Keystone XL pipeline from cutting through their county and endangering the health of their communities. The sheriffs have refused her request and continue to endanger her by preventing her ground support from being nearby, in some instances chasing them over half a mile away from the blockade. Show your solidarity with Audrey and Mike by calling the commissioners and asking them to go out to the blockade and listen to their concerns.

  • Precinct 1: Commissioner Rick Harrison: (936) 632-5531
  • Precinct 2: Commissioner Kenneth Timmons (936) 632-5531
  • Precinct 3: Commissioner Robert Loggins (936) 632-5531
  • Precinct 4: Commissioner Scott Cooper (936) 632-5531

UPDATE: 12:15 pm – Two more direct supporters arrested

Two more people who were directly supporting the tree blockade have been arrested, bringing the total number of arrests up to three. Even a small contribution to the legal fund can go a long way in making sure that our friends can get out of jail in a timely manner and have the legal support they need.

UPDATE: 11:50 am – Police detaining supporters standing on side of highway; one direct supporter arrested

We have confirmation that one direct ground support person for the tree blockade has been arrested, and another placed in handcuffs. Police have been detaining and checking ID’s of people who have been standing on the side of the highway, protesting in support of the blockade. They are also creating a visual blockade with their cars so that supporters from the highway can’t see what’s happening with the blockade and around the life-lines.

Call the Angelina County Sheriff’s Department and demand that they stop detaining people for standing in public areas and exercising their constitutional rights: (936) 634-3332.

Diboll, TX, January 3, 2013 9:00AM — Late last night, blockaders set up two “dump platforms” in trees outside of Diboll, Texas which would otherwise be cleared to make way for TransCanada’s Keystone XL toxic tar sands pipeline. These special “dump platforms” are shielded by an unprecedented 80-100 ft perimeter of life-lines which, if disturbed, would certainly dump the two blockaders nested in them roughly 50-60 ft in the air. The Blockaders are sitting in solidarity with the now global Idle No More campaign for First Nation’s human rights and tribal sovereignty that very recently started in Canada.

This new tree blockade comes just a couple weeks after the end of Tar Sands Blockade’s 85-day tree blockade near Winnsboro, TX. TransCanada rerouted the tar sands pipeline to go around the Winnsboro tree blockade, despite having told countless landowners, including Douglass resident Mike Bishop, that the route was set in stone and could not be altered to avoid bulldozing their cropland, or to go around schools, neighborhoods, or ecologically sensitive areas.

This new site is surrounded by barriers like Highway 59, railroad tracks, and Ryan Lake. With these nearby, blockaders have found a location around which the pipe cannot easily be rerouted.

The viability of this blockade depends entirely on the safe conduct of TransCanada and local police forces. They could easily end it by cutting ropes and seriously injuring or killing the tree sitters. Blockaders Audrey and Mike know the risks. They are prepared to stay on their platforms, just big enough to lie down on, indefinitely, to defend their collective home from the expansion of tar sands exploitation that Keystone XL would usher in.

“Protecting the living systems which we’re a part of is a moral necessity,” shared Audrey, who is sitting in a singular tree left in a newly-cleared field. “Extraction of the tar sands is the most destructive project on the continent. It threatens the integrity of the entire biosphere, not to mention the First Nations dependent upon access to clean water, land, and air for the health and food for their tribal communities.”

Mike, another sitter suspended in a skypod between two trees, agreed, “That their plight has been so long ignored by industry and policy-makers is a clear violation of their human rights and a crime of conscience. That’s why we are enthusiastically supporting the Idle No More movement!”

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.

“Institutional methods of addressing climate change have failed us,” explained Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperon. “Rising up to defend our homes against corporate exploitation is our best and only hope to preserve life on this planet. We must normalize and embrace direct, organized resistance to the death machine of industrial extraction and stand with those like Idle No More who take extraordinary risk to defend their families and livelihoods.”


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