From Earth Island Journal: http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/a_report_from_tar_sands_blockade_in_texas
Behind the scenes with incredible people including Darryl Hannah and Eleanor Fairchild
by Julia Butterfly Hill
October 16, 2012
In January 2012, I, like many other people, thought the Keystone XL pipeline controversy was over. We had won a hard-fought victory in suspending the proposed tar sands pipeline from crossing the border from Canada into the USA. It seemed a major win for the environmental movement.
But shortly after reveling in the victory, I read the words of President Barack Obama (the same man who claimed he wanted to lead America away from dependence on oil) said during a March speech in Cushing, OK. “And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done,” the president said.
To my horror and disappointment, that is exactly what he did. Today TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, has already started construction on the southern leg of the pipeline that will potentially stretch from Montana all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
In this case, “cutting through the red tape” includes allowing eminent domain laws to be used to take land from families, farmers, and Indigenous people in order to push this extremely dangerous pipeline. If completed, the pipeline will be filled with highly corrosive and toxic tar sands oil that will be pumped through the heartland of America and then (some of it, at least) will be exported to other countries.
Some residents in Texas and other allies who have come from all over the country are trying to stop this from happening. Last week I visited the courageous landowners and blockaders in ruralEast Texas who are putting their bodies on the line to slow down and, hopefully, halt the pipeline construction.
I am honored and humbled to be able to share part of their story.
• • •
In April of last year, I went to Dallas, TX and met with one of the landowners, David Daniel and his family, who were facing imminent destruction of their land from TransCanada and standing against the taking of their land through eminent domain abuse. He shared with me his story — how he and his wife had travelled to many places looking for their perfect place to buy a piece of property where they would care for and steward their little piece of “Heaven on Earth” and raise their child to feel connected to living with the Earth and not just on it. They found exactly what they were looking for in East Texas. A property that had beautiful woods, huge, old trees, and spring-fed creeks curving and meandering through 22 acres. There was one, particularly large, very old tree right next to one of the creeks that had a magic to it, that both David and his wife both felt drawn to so powerfully. It was on that spot that they both knew they had found “their place.”