(Update: Wednesday p.m.: Dr. Stein has been released from Wood County Jail after being charged with Class B Misdemeanor Criminal Trespass for helping resupply the tree sitters participating in the Tar Sands Blockade.)
From Green Right Now Reports
Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, has been arrested in Texas while helping protesters of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Before being detained by local authorities — joining dozens of protesters who’ve been arrested for civil disobedience against the pipeline project — Dr. Stein issued a statement linking Keystone XL to the climate change that’s causing havoc with the U.S. economy and environment.
“The climate is taking this election by storm, breaking the silence of the Obama and Romney campaigns that have been bought and paid for by the oil, coal and gas companies,” Dr. Stein said in a statement issued by the blockade group. “Hurricane Sandy is just a taste of what’s to come under the climate destroying policies of Romney and Obama. We must stand up now and call for climate solutions and green prosperity. The blockaders are heroes. They are on the front line of stopping even worse climate storms in the future.”
Dr. Stein, a Massachusetts resident, arrived to the protest site two hours due east of Dallas, near Winnsboro, Texas. Two other New Englanders also joined the tree sitting protest today, but at another location further south.
The two women, Pika and Lauren, have set up tree houses with ropes attached to nearby tree-clearing equipment, in a plan to bring pipeline work to a stop at their location north of Nacogdoches, Texas.
They say they’re joining the protest because they experienced the destruction of the extreme weather that scientists say is accelerating because of climate change.
“Just a year ago, Vermont was hit really hard by Hurricane Irene. I spent months helping friends and family clean out basements and rebuild houses that were completely destroyed by flooding,“ Pika said. “I have extended family in Arizona and Colorado who have been just crushed by the drought and the forest fires that have been happening in the last few years. I came here because this is one of the foremost campaigns against the most destructive resource extraction industry at the root of the climate crisis we are living in today.”
The site of the tree village, which has been in place for several weeks, is about two hours due east of Dallas.
The protesters are trying to stop progress on the pipeline because it will carry toxic tar sands bitumen from mines in Canada. The bitumen can be refined into gasoline, but the protesters believe the environmental cost is too high. Tar sands oil is extracted by clearing land and using large volumes of water to extract the tarry oil from the sandy rock deep beneath the surface.
Climate activists say the use of tar sands creates at least twice the carbon emissions of traditional oil.
The Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate activists who’ve been using civil disobedience to try to stop the Southern leg of what is panned to be a 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta to Houston.
Many landowners in Texas have joined the protest because they don’t want the pipeline, which they see as risky in the case of a spill, on their land.
“From the protesters defending the coast in British Columbia to the coastal residents of New England, Tar Sands Blockade stands in solidarity with communities across the continent threatened by climate change,” said Cindy Spoon, lifelong Texan and spokesperson for the Blockade.
“Texas continues to suffer from the consequences of extreme drought and record setting wildfires. Defending our homes from destructive corporations like TransCanada is the best way to guard against a future of runaway climate change. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will only exacerbate the extraordinary climate challenges we face today.”