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Tar Sands Blockade: Why are they so frightened of us? (#NoKXL)

Shannon and Ben Franklin locked to machinery.

Shannon "Rain" Beebe and Benjamin Franklin locked to Transcanada machinery

When I remember what happened, I remember the beauty first. The blue sky, the soaring hawk, the oak sapling mangled by the backhoe we’d stopped. That oak was very inspirational to us as we awaited our fate. By surviving TransCanada’s clear-cutting, it symbolized our own plans to weather the forces marshalled against us.

It was Tuesday, September the 25th. I was anchored to the back of heavy machinery with someone I’d just met. We’d both travelled to East Texas to help derail TransCanada’s massive tar sands pipeline. Climate change is a global problem, but this terribly destructive project was coming right to our backyard; how could I sit idly by?

For years now, TransCanada has been abusing eminent domain to expropriate Texans’ land for their phenomenally wasteful pipeline. Years of political lobbying had led to project delays, but had been insufficient to stop TransCanada from breaking ground. Despite multiple lawsuits, TransCanada was busy clear-cutting forests on disputed land, and so I joined TarSandsBlockade.org – a nonviolent direct action campaign started to stop the KXL Pipeline.

I joined the Tar Sands Blockade for three reasons. One: We hoped to prevent the tar sands carbon bomb from being released, with the goal of preventing catastrophic levels of climate change. Two: As a proud member of Occupy Houston, I felt I had a responsibility to help prevent a multinational company from perverting Texas law so it might misuse eminent domain for its own private gain. Three: A belief, rooted in my Unitarian Universalism, that I have a duty to assist nonviolent tactics and help demonstrate that they are a successful path to change.

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