Ramsay Sprague, a spokesperson for Tar Sands Blockade, was arrested Thursday after disrupting a planned speech by TransCanada executive Tom Hamilton by chaining himself to the room's audio equipment and telling security officials attempting to remove him: "I don't have a key."
Sprague's protest comes less than a week after 19 activists and environmental organizations agreed to a repressive settlement preventing them from trespassing on Keystone XL property to protest Tar Sands pipeline owned by Hamilton's company.
Hamilton was scheduled to speak before a crowd of 300 pipeline construction executives about safety and regulations on the KXL pipeline. But approximately 10 minutes into Hamilton's speech, Sprague interrupted by chaining himself to the equipment and telling attendees that the "slow industrial genocide" caused by the pipeline must end.
"Toxic Tar Sands extraction should not be allowed to continue," Sprague said. "We've been inside the pipe, light shining through at morning, with photographic and video evidence that the their wells are inadequate. That pipe went into the ground less than an hour later."
"TransCanada’s safety record is beyond deplorable," he continued. "Their wanton disregard for the health of our communities is demonstrated by their countless toxic tar sands spills. I’m compelled to take action today and shed light on the dangerous material this multinational corporation is pumping through our homes."
"Their wanton disregard for the health of our communities is demonstrated by their countless toxic tar sands spills. I’m compelled to take action today and shed light on the dangerous material this multinational corporation is pumping through our homes."
Along with Sprague, three other activists were detained but released and escorted from the conference, the group said in a release.
Sprague is among 19 individual activists, along with Tar Sands Blockade, Rising Tide North America and Rising Tide North Texas, who on January 25 agreed, under threat of a $5 million lawsuit, not to trespass on Keystone XL property.
As part of the settlement, the activists agreed to no longer trespass or cause damage to Keystone XL property throughout the pipeline's entire southern leg, including any demonstrations "aimed at interfering with pipeline construction," the Toronto Star reports.
But Sprague vowed at the time to continue protesting the dangerous pipeline.
“TransCanada is dead wrong if they think a civil lawsuit against a handful of Texans is going to stop a grassroots civil disobedience movement," he said in a statement. "This is nothing more than another example of TransCanada repressing dissent and bullying Texans who are defending their homes and futures from toxic tar sands.”