Two People Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery to Defend Eight People in Tree Blockade (Day 2)

UPDATE: 9:00 PM- Two Blockaders Arrested Have Been Released

Both Benjamin and Shannon have been released from Wood County jail. With their lockdown action, they were able to shut down construction at the site for most of the day. In doing so, they protected their friends, neighbors, and community from destruction by tar sands.

All eight tree-sitting blockaders remain 80 ft above the ground. With the help of their friends actions today, construction at the site has been effectively shut down for two days. More photos from today’s action on our flickr page.

UPDATE: 4:30PM – Tree Cutting Machines Have Left – Tree Blockade Successful For Another Day!

All of TransCanada’s heavy machinery has left the Keystone XL construction site outside Winnsboro, Texas. Thanks to Shannon and Benjamin for locking themselves to machinery earlier today we have successful delayed construction for most of the day! Everyday of delay allows us to bring to light how this pipeline endangers our water, our families, and the stability of our global climate.

UPDATE: 4:00PM – Tree Cutting Machines Have Retuned! – Organizers Approach to Stop Them

After Shannon and Benjamin were arrested for locking themselves to a excavator the machine has been removed from the Keystone XL construction site making way for the advancement of tree clear-cutting machinery. Organizers went to stop the machinery’s destruction in hopes of curbing their clear-cutting operation and protecting the tree village.

When approached in plain sight by the members of Tar Sands Blockade the TransCanada machinery operator refused to turn off his machine in accordance with Federal safety regulations. He continued to recklessly clear-cut trees in full view of TransCanada supervisors who simply watched with video cameras. The feller buncher operator made eye contact with blockaders, and proceeded to drop a tree near enough to them that blockader J.G Genson had to jump out of the way to avoid being slammed by the branches.

“It felt like he was aiming a loaded gun at me and would pull the trigger any second,” says J.G. Genson who had to leap out of the way to avoid being struck by the falling tree. “TransCanada has abandoned all safety protocols to plow this toxic pipeline through our homes at any cost.”  Watch this video and see for yourself. 

UPDATE: 3:30PM – Our Lockdown Has Ended with Two Arrests

Texas-born blockaders Shannon Beebe and Benjamin Franklin have been arrested after they locked themselves to a excavator at a Keystone XL construction site outside Winnsboro, Texas. Their heroic efforts delayed construction for most of the day and helped protect the eight people currently holding an sustained blockade in 80 foot tall trees in the path of the toxic pipeline.

Support Shannon and Benjamin with a generous donation to their legal support. We are a grassroots organization funded entirely by the generosity our supports. Thank you!

NOTE:  Shannon and Benjamin were tortured by police under the active encouragement of TransCanada. We reported on this horrific incident the following day after we were able to gain enough conclusive evidence to document the abuse.

UPDATE: 1:15PM – More Law Enforcement Officers Arrive

Three more law enforcement officers have joined the Wood County Sheriff at a Keystone XL construction site that has been effectively shut down by Texas born blockaders, Shannon and Benjamin. Join them in an upcoming action to help defend our homes form this toxic pipeline.

UPDATE: 12:00PM – Wood County Sheriff Has Arrived 

The Wood County Sheriff just arrived at the Keystone XL construction site that has effectively been shut down by two blockaders who have locked themselves to construction machinery. Today’s brave action is preventing TransCanada’s machinery from approaching an eight person indefinite tree blockade just over 300 yards away.

UPDATE: 11AM – Blockaders Have Stopped All Work At Keystone XL Construction Site

All work has been halted at a Keystone XL construction site outside Winnsboro, Texas. Two Texas-born blockaders have locked themselves to construction machinery, effectively halting all construction until further notice. Photos pending.
Two Texas-born Tar Sands Blockaders have locked themselves to a critical piece of machinery for Keystone XL construction in order to protect a tree village occupied by eight people in the tar sands pipeline’s path of devastation outside Winnsboro,Texas.

The two landowner advocates and climate justice organizers are risking arrest to delay deforesting work along the Keystone XL pipeline’s path, which threatens to destroy a magnificent tree village on property that TransCanada now claims ownership of through court action. The machinery involved, an excavator, was being used to build a bridge across a gully in the massive path of destruction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. WIthout the bridge construction has effectively been halted for the day. Help spread this breaking story  on Facebook and Twitter.

TransCanada’s heavy machinery has clear-cut its way within just over 300 yards of the 80-foot tall tree house village occupied by landowner advocates in the pathway of Keystone XL just outside Winnsboro, Texas. The eight people in trees have held strong despite the advancing roar of TransCanada’s clear cutting machinery and are determined to hold their blockade as long as needed.

This action is to protect the eight people sitting in trees, as their blockade enters its second day – the longest halt to construction since Tar Sands Blockade, which organized the tree sit, began in August.

Lake Dallas, Texas-born blockader Shannon Beebe, 26, has united with Houston-native and small business owner, Benjamin Franklin, 34, to support rural and neighboring communities who feel abused by TransCanada’s extremely aggressive land grabs and threatened by their toxic pipeline’s diluted bitumen slurry.

Franklin, whose family traces its lineage to pre-independence Texas, relates, “As someone who has a religious dedication to nonviolence, I have a duty to assist nonviolent tactics. This is a path to change that works. I had a childhood spent in the piney woods of Texas, and they contain a beauty that haunts me, still. Driving up here and then walking amongst the trees and their sitters reminded me of the beauty I experienced in childhood. That in and of itself is reason to be here defending it.”

He continues, “The theft and destruction of people’s homes, the contamination that’s likely to occur once the pipeline is completed, and the release of the carbon bomb that is the Athabascan tar sands formation make the need for action now unignorable.”
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 the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. We have already successfully shut down Keystone XL construction for about two-and-a-half days in LivingstonSaltillo, and Winnsboro.

Watch the high energy video from our recent actions and sign up to join us.

“The risk of inaction is far greater than the risk of taking action – even risky action like this,” suggests Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “We are committed to undertaking a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction of Keystone XL, and Tar Sands Blockade will continue to protect the Winnsboro tree village. It is a symbol of all the homes and families crudely threatened by this tar sands pipeline. Sometimes, one must simply stand one’s ground in the face of eminent threats like those posed by this dangerous pipeline in order protect the health and safety of their families, loved ones, and that of their neighbors.”

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