Saturday, November 24, 2012

Protests of Keystone XL Pipeline persist in northeast Texas

The New York Times reports today, dateline Wells, Texas, population 769, that some of those protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline were pepper-sprayed earlier this week by Cherokee County Sheriff's Deputies.  Saul Elbein writes:
Since September, when construction began on the Keystone, the Tar Sands Blockade, a grass-roots coalition of East Texas landowners and environmental advocates from across the country, has been waging a nonviolent guerrilla campaign against the pipeline.
Blockade volunteers have locked themselves to construction equipment during most weeks since the construction began. Thus far, 43 protestors have been arrested. This week was no exception, but this week marked the first time pepper spray has been used on protestors who had not locked themselves to construction equipment.  Elbein's story suggests that use of pepper spray on protestors locked to equipment has become standard operating procedure.

Among those pepper-sprayed this week was 75-year-old Jeanette Singleton of Nacogdoches, who said she worried about the pipeline's impact on the nearby Angelina River.  She commented:
I don’t like how they’ve treated people ... If you don’t want to sign, they just take your land from you. It doesn’t seem right.
Elbein reports that "widespread landowner resentment has created a fertile ground for the blockade’s resistance to the pipeline. "  He notes that Monday's protests were supported by "the landowners whose property the easement crossed."

Elbein also quotes the Cherokee County Sheriff about the decision to pepper spray those blocking a cherry-picker that was to be used to remove tree-sitters.  He said that "pepper spray was used because the driver of the cherry picker was 'scared out of his wits' that protesters would pull him from his vehicle."

Earlier coverage of Texas protests about the Keystone XL Pipeline is here and here.  

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