UPDATE Oct. 14th – Kevin Decides to Come Down — Here’s His Explanation
This is Kevin, I’m writing to you on the ground a few hours outside of Winnsboro from the site of my tree sit. I wanted to let you know that I decided to come down and I owe you all an explanation for why I’m not in the Nature Preserve right now. Basically upon sitting up there for a few days I learned more about the process of laying the pipe in that area than I was aware of when I first climbed that tree.
TransCanada is using a technique called directional drilling to go under the West End Nature Preserve; directional drilling would allow them to drill 50 feet or more below my tree. When the tree sit was set up, myself as well as the the people who rigged the platform, were under the impression that the process of drilling would be more shallow and the trees would need to be cleared so the root structures would not interfere with the process. Upon learning about the process my tree sit essentially became symbolic in my mind. The lease agreement says that they can clear the trees in the easement if they want; but there is no need to do so. The tree I was in was not in the easement and I had a rope that was tied into only one in the path. If TransCanada makes the decision to clear-cut then my sit would really only protect one tree and they would most likely cut everything around it.
My intention in climbing that tree was to put myself on the line to stop the pipeline. Saving the trees is important to me, but ultimately I had to weigh the possibility of saving a few trees and getting arrested or actually holding off construction of the pipe at another location and getting arrested. I am willing to go to jail to slow this project but I want my arrest to be as tactical as possible. I want to thank everyone who posted words of support and solidarity on the blog and on facebook, I want to assure you that I am still very much active in this fight and am dedicated to stopping this project.
UPDATE Oct 13th 9:00AM – A Quiet Scene as 2nd Tree Blockade Continues
Police occasionally visit Kevin every now and then as he sits in the West End Nature Preserve, but for the most part, the days are quiet with the exception of the heavy machinery busy digging trenches that can be heard from both ends of the Preserve from his tree. The nights are far quieter and peaceful, filled with the sounds of nature all around.
UPDATE Oct 12th 9:00AM – Two Police Milling Around Below Kevin’s Tree
UPDATE 11:00AM – Three Police Milling Around Under Tree – Situation is Quiet
Looks like we’ve got a good ol’ fashioned Texas standoff on our hands. Life long Texan, Kevin Redding, is up a tree in the pathway of Keystone XL and is refusing to come down to protect the water supply from toxic tar sands. Three police officers are milling around on the ground while TransCanada’s machinery operates at the far edge of the Nature Preserve.
UPDATE 11:00AM – Police Have Cleared the Scene — TransCanada’s Machinery Heard Nearby
UPDATE 10:00AM – Police Escorting Away Ground Blockaders There to Support Kevin
UPDATE 9:45AM – Police Are Threatening to “Climb Up There” and Bring Kevin Down From the Tree
UPDATE 9:30AM – Police Are Calling Kevin a “Terrorist” for “Endangering a Waterway”!
Franklin County and Water District police officers are calling Kevin a “terrorist” for “endangering a waterway.” Excuse me?! The real criminal is the multi-national corporation that is threatening to poison the water of 12 million Texans with its a toxic pipeline. Kevin it courageously defending this water way and old growth forest from Keystone XL.
UPDATE 9:15AM – Two Police Arrive in the Nature Preserve – Patrol Under Kevin’s Tree
Moments ago TransCanada’s workers arrived in a nature preserve in East Texas to continue clear cutting a swath of old growth forest for Keystone XL — but today they encountered something they hadn’t accounted for: Kevin Redding.
Inspired by the sustained tree blockade near Winnsboro, Texas thats in its third week, Kevin, a lifelong Texan, decided to take action. Early this morning he climbed up a tree in the West End Nature Preserve outside Mt. Vernon, Texas and intends to stay there until TransCanada halts the destruction of the wilderness and stops endangering our drinking water. Check back on this live blog for more breaking updates as this story develops.
Today we tip our ten gallon hats to Kevin and hope that he’ll not only be able to delay clear-cutting today, but for days to come.
We don’t know how long we’ll be able to hold them off here but we know one thing: we’ll continue fighting until we stop this dangerous pipeline — permanently. Sign up now to join one of our upcoming actions.
It is Kevin who best describes his spur of the moment decision to climb the tree: “I want to defend our Texas wilderness from a multinational corporation’s blatant disregard for our landscape and clean water. I’m here to defend my landowner friends and their families from toxic tar sands spills that would poison their drinking water.” Help share Kevin’s story on Facebook and Twitter.
Kevin intends to prevent TransCanada’s clearing crews from cutting a wide scar of destruction through the 455-acre land preserve. Unlike a crude oil pipeline, tar sands sludge has to be pumped at high pressures, which creates extremely high temperatures when pumped through the pipe. The Keystone I pipeline, Keystone XL’s predecessor, has leaked 12 times in its first year of operation alone. Keystone XL would carry a more toxic pipe-corroding substance that could result in upwards of 1.7 million gallons a day of spilled sludge without even triggering TransCanada’s leak detection system.
Keystone XL would cross the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer that supplies fresh water to 10-12 million Texans. The aquifer is essential to the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across the region that depend on it for survival. The Preserve is also a sanctuary home to many species of migratory birds, panthers, and even black bear. These terrifying facts are deeply troubling to families living in the region.
“The beautiful Cypress Creek that flows through the preserve feeds thousands of acres of local lakes, including my own,” attests nearby landowner Larry Coleman. “When this pipeline leaks, Cypress Springs Lake will never again be safe for fishing or swimming.” Stopping this pipeline is about the survival of our way of life.
Though Kevin may be the only one up a tree in the Nature Preserve, he’s not alone. His friends are just 30 minutes south in the sustained tree blockade.
Kevin’s brave actions today to defend Texas wilderness and water are admirable. Taking a stand to defend our homes is far less risky than the costs of doing nothing. We need more people like Kevin who are willing to take a stand and put us a day closer to our collective vision for a world free of poisonous tar sands.