Keystone XL pipeline protesters braced for a showdown with construction crews today in East Texas, where at least 8 protesters have been encamped since Monday in a ‘tree village’ built to block the path of the pipeline.
The Tar Sands Blockade protesters have been thwarting the progress of the pipeline through East Texas by locking themselves to equipment or sitting in front of tree-clearing machinery. They’ve slowed work crews at various points along the southern segment of Keystone XL, between Cushing, Okla., and Port Arthur, Texas.
Texas residents who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline were arrested after they chained themselves to pipeline construction equipment in Polk County on Tuesday.
The seven protesters, five men and two women, were trying to thwart the progress of the pipeline through Texas, the last leg of the 1,700 mile project that would bring tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries near Houston. They oppose the pipeline because they believe it will be unsafe and could leak harming aquifers and farm land. Many of the protesters, part of the Tar Sands Blockade, also oppose the tar sands project because it will add to the greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change.
Environmentalists cheered the surprise announcement today that the U.S. State Department will re-evaluate the route of the proposed controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, and praised President Obama for ordering the reconsideration.
“The president didn’t outright reject the pipeline permit…But a few minutes ago the president sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess,” wrote environmental activist Bill McKibben on the TarSandsAction.org blog.