UPDATE 10:00AM – TransCanada is Re-Staking the Original Keystone XL Easement Through Tree Blockade
TransCanada’s surveying crews have begun re-staking their originally planned route for the Keystone XL easement directly through the tree blockade. This recent move to try and claim the land for their toxic pipeline with bright orange surveying tape and stakes has only embolden tree blockaders resolve to remain in the trees until this pipeline is stopped for good.
Within the last week TransCanada began clear-cutting outside of their allotted easement on the west side, dangerously close to peaceful blockaders. They’ve also indicated to the Houston Chronicle’s Fuel Fix blog that their intention is to cut around the blockade:
“TransCanada had been thwarted by the demonstrators in recent weeks, so the company decided to move around what the protesters call their “tree village” with a slight diversion of its previously planned pipeline route.” FuelFix.
Its unclear what route they are currently planning and we only know one thing for sure. This multi-national corporation is ready to bulldoze anything and anyone that stands between it and its profits.
The account below was previously written by a blockader about their experience defending the tree blockade. This statement and video depict what it actually looks like on the ground navigating the corporate controlled police state that was once a peaceful forest.
Down below the tree blockade, hideous monsters in the form of massive feller bunchers and dozers fill the air with the heinous sounds of corporate ecocide: mechanical whirs, sawing, and worst of the all the sound of beautiful trees hundreds of years old falling to their death, driving wildlife from their homes.
A feller buncher began clearing through a section of the forest, rapidly advancing towards one of the tree sitters. Clearly printed in large letters on the side of the death machine read a warning to stay back at least 500 feet. A roving team on the ground that I was part of began approaching the feller buncher, trying to keep our friend in the tree safe. On the ground two TransCanada workers and one local sheriff operating as an armed mercenary of the corporation oversaw the operations, trying to move through the felled trees to push back our crew from the clear-cut site. We continued to advance, determined not only to protect our friend above in the canopy but also to push them back and show them that we are not scared, and that we will resist the advancement of the toxic pipeline.
At one point as we had just watched the feller buncher take down an 80 foot water oak not 40 feet away from the sitter and we heard our friend screaming from above pleading for the safety of their life, I ran towards the machine about 25 feet away making eye contact with the driver who continued to operate the machine and yelling to TransCanada and their bought and paid sheriff that we would not stay back, that they were going to kill our friend if they continued to advance and they were required by law to stop the machine. The sheriff approached saying that “they” (speaking as if they were actually part of TransCanada) weren’t coming any further at that point and they turned the machine around to continue clear cutting. A crew of seven of us held our ground and remained in defense of the tree blockader on the opposite side of a creek where we were forced to watch tree after tree fall. A dense part of the forest was instantly turned in to a morose tree morgue.
Overcome with emotions, having never seen a clearcut myself and certainly having never faced down a massive feller buncher, I moved back through the clearcut, across the creek where our friend sat above us in a tree. Feeling the energy coming from the mercilessly mauled fresh tree stumps, I lay over a large one crying uncontrollably as I watched the remaining few trees off in the distance be cut and wrestled out of place. I angrily contemplated the enormity of the corporate state and the injustice of the entire situation. My friends were there to comfort me and together we all walked away from the horrible scene feeling renewed in our fight and certain in our decision to come to Texas to fight this madness and call attention to this scene.