Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last ditch effort to stop the Keystone XL in east Texas

Dan Frosh reported in the New York Times a few days ago on efforts to stop the southern part of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from proceeding through the northeast corner of Wood County Texas.  There, disgruntled landowners and outside activists such as actor Darryl Hannah have protested and sought to physically block the work of laying the pipeline.  A number of them are camped out in a web of tree houses.  The story's dateline is Winnsboro, Texas, population 3,584, and some excerpts from it follow:
Here among the woods and farmland, what might be one of the last pitched battles over the Keystone XL oil pipeline has been unfolding for weeks now, since construction of the controversial project's southern leg began in August.  
Frosh quotes Ron Siefert, a spokesman for the Tar Sands Blockade, environmental activists who are behind the resistance in Winnsboro and who assert that the oil sands crude to be carried in the pipeline is especially toxic.
Initially, a lot of the environmental movement on a national scale had kind of written this fight off. ...  But we awakened folks from that slumber.  I think now there's an understanding that people are not going to give this up.
One Wood County landowner, 62-year-old Susan Scott, regrets having granted TransCanada a right-of-way through her 60 acres.  She said she didn't know the type of oil that would be carried by the pipeline when she took $22,000 from TransCanada.  Scott has since buried the money in a fruit jar on her property, saying she doesn't care if it rots.  Scott also maintains that she granted the right-of-way because the feared a lawsuit if she held out.  Now, Scott fears she is "guilty of destroying [her] farm."

Another landowner, David Daniel, also granted an easement to TransCanada but then refused to recognize it.  TransCanada sued Daniel, and he has since settled with the company and asked the protestors to leave his property.  But, Siefert, the spokesman for Tar Sands Blockade, responds:
It's actually out of respect for David Daniel that we stay. ... I stand by the fact that protecting his forest is the best thing for him, the best thing for the community, the best thing for the Planet Earth.  
Earlier stories about the Keystone XL are here and here.  

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