I’m currently part of a team of awesome friends roving through the woods of east Texas as part of the Tar Sands Blockade (TSB). This is an epic fight to defend Texans’ homes and land against the clearcutting and pollution caused by the building of the massive Keystone XL pipeline.
The media team for TSB are doing an awesome job of updating our website as TransCanada (TC) and their hired goons advance toward our blockade with heavy equipment and repeatedly endanger our people in some scary ways. A friend and I thought that allies of the TSB might appreciate an on-the-ground perspective, and so before I go back to defending our blockade I thought I’d update y’all.
The forest of east Texas is totally beautiful. Water oak, sweet gum and slash pine trees define the canopy, and green briar, muscadine grapes and beautyberry bushes cover the ground. This forest is home to great blue herons, turkey vultures, whippoorwills, lots of deer, rattlers and other snakes, armadillos, and even occasional black bears. All of these are our natural allies and have been incredibly disturbed by the clear cutting of their home.
At the beginning of this week the bad guys were operating a feller buncher and clear cutting a vast swath of forest aimed directly at our blockade. On Tuesday morning we temporarily stopped them by placing ourselves directly in the path of their machines. As a backhoe was placing timbers over a gully so that other more destructive stuff like feller-bunchers could advance toward our blockade, two of our team locked down to the backhoe and stopped it in its tracks while the rest of us provided cover. The lockdowners were then tortured by local police with TC supervisors watching and laughing. After they were extracted from the backhoe, the timber bridge got built and the feller buncher started rapidly destroying trees advancing toward our blockade.
Then we ran out in front of it and one of my friends sat down directly in its path. All of us were way too close to the backhoe for it to operate safely. Instead of backing away slowly to a safe distance per OSHA regulations, the operator of the machine (which might’ve been the same guy operating the backhoe) decided to fell another tree and drop it right on my friend’s head. This demonstrates antisocial and potentially murderous behavior and this guy clearly should be getting mental help, not operating heavy machinery. TC supervisors were watching this happen the whole time, and nodding with approval. This is criminal and they should be prosecuted for reckless endangerment and attempted manslaughter, both of which are illegal in the state of Texas. It’s lucky that I caught the whole thing on film and even luckier that my friend jumped out of the way in time and is now relatively safe.
Our friends in trees and on the Wall are incredibly brave to be maintaining their positions despite the mechanized onslaught advancing toward them and the possibility of brutality by TC’s hired goons, and we are here to support them no matter what. The bad guys have now advanced all the way up to the wall, leaving a scarred and devastated landscape in their wake. There are workers, bosses and goons below (as I write this) making all kinds of scary and empty threats. Our people are jovial and defiant in the face of danger. We’re inviting all our friends and allies out to visit our blockade and provide supplies, encouragement and reinforcements. We who are living in the forest are committed to maintaining our positions no matted how intimidating this multibillion-dollar corporation and their enablers in local law enforcement try to be. Running circles around confused TC bosses and their goons in the beautiful Texas forest is totally fun, and everyone should come out and participate.
You can help by coming down to join us, by doing solidarity actions against TC and their enablers in your local town, by sending us funds and/or gear, reaching out to your media contacts, and telling all your friends about this and asking them to spread the word.
We need: walkie-talkies, AAA batteries, camo gear, rain gear, climbing gear of all kinds, tools, satellite internet, solar panels, deep-cell batteries, woods food, water filters, and video cameras.
We make our stand here in the hope of inspiring others to make a stand against Keystone XL in a broad diversity of ways. Corporations should not be allowed to just roll over us the way they’ve repeatedly done for decades. Resistance is coming. Everyone affected by this pipeline must realize that risks must be taken in defense of what we love. Laying down in front of things, or any variation on that, is good for publicity but is nowhere near enough. People must rise up and defend their homes.
Love and Rage,
Anonymous Blockader # 57