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Tar Sands Blockaders Take Over TransCanada Offices in Texas, Elsewhere

Actions in Texas, Massachusetts and Maine target pipeline company and its financial backers

- Jon Queally, staff writer

Update (3:15 PM):

Members and supporters of the group Tar Sands Blockade staged public actions in Texas, Massachusetts, Maine and elsewhere on Monday in a series of independent protests at offices of the Transcanada Corporation—which is building the Keystone XL pipeline—and financial institutions supportive of tar sands infrastructure projects, such as TD Bank.

The largest action took place in Houston, Texas (see below), but others sprang up as the day progressed.

Campaigners in Westborough, Massachusetts—reportedly students—occupied the inside of the entryway at the company's offices and refused to leave.

The group explained their motivations in a prepared statement, which read in part:

"Our actions today aim to raise awareness and build momentum to halt the destruction that fossil fuel corporations knowingly cause. Science, and economics and logic provide an obvious imperative for action. However, even overwhelming factual evidence has not compelled our political leaders to stand up to these corporations. Our elected representatives have not yet found the courage to draw a clear line in the sand and prevent the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline."

Meanwhile, citing the financial institution's investment in the the Keystone XL pipeline project, several activists in Portland, Maine, blocked the entrance to a local branch of TD Bank and sent out this image:

A gathering was also reported in Detroit, Michigan.

Earlier:

Members of the Tar Sands Blockade have staged a mass action in the Houston offices of the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada.

Tar Sands Blockaders take over TransCanada offices in Houston. (Photo: via Twitpic)

According to Tar Sands Blockade—a group of environmentalists and landowners working to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline—more than one hundred protesters gathered to confront the Canadian-based pipeline company at its US headquarters in downtown Houston.

Citing land rights abuses, toxic legacy and climate change connected to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, some of the protesters staged a die-in in the lobby and are refusing to leave.

"This action kicks off a new phase of the Tar Sands Blockade targeting the corporate and financial infrastructure behind the Keystone XL pipeline," the group said in a statement. "TransCanada’s pipeline uses seized land to transport toxic tar sands oil through Texas and Oklahoma communities, in order to export it from Houston ports. These dangerous business practices and the backlash from communities across the country make this pipeline a toxic investment for our state and TransCanada’s corporate lenders."

Several arrests were reported.

The group also posted a request for supporters of their action in Houston to call TranCanada's office and voice support for those currently in the lobby.

"You can help shut down work in TransCanada’s offices by flooding the phone lines all today to tell them we don’t want their dirty pipeline in anyone’s backyard," the message said.

"Can you call TransCanada’s Keystone XL headquarters now to tell them you stand with your fellow Blockaders inside and outside their office today?" the group asked. The group also provided suggested names and numbers to call.

The group has been staging ongoing actions in Texas against the pipeline since last year, including an eighty-five day blockade in Winnsboro, Texas which saw a series of actions and numerous arrests surrounding a centralized encampent that resulted in a re-routing of the pipeline's route. A more recent tree-sit protest last week that ended in the arrest of several activists in Diboll, Texas.

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