***UPDATE THURSDAY 11/1/12 5:30PM – Pika was just released from Nacogdoches County Jail! The police ended up tacking on a resisting arrest charge for her as well, bringing her total bail amount to $14,000. Please consider making a generous donation to support Lauren and Pika and future blockaders taking action against the tar sands.
***UPDATE THURSDAY 11/1/12 4:30PM – Lauren was just released from Nacogdoches County Jail!
***UPDATE THURSDAY 11/1/12 12:30PM – Pika managed to come down late last night around 2am. She had no food or water and her warm clothes had been cut down as well. She was arrested upon descent and is now facing a similar set of charges as Lauren: Fourth Degree (State) Felony Criminal Mischief and Class B Misdemeanor Criminal Trespass minus the Class A Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest charge.
Both appeared in court earlier today and were in good spirits. The judge set Pika’s bail at $11,500 and Lauren’s is $14,000. We expect they will be released within a couple hours.
Please consider making a generous donation to assist in getting Lauren and Pika free and for our peaceful, sustained resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline.
***UPDATE 10:30PM — Directly from Pika from her perch:
I’m sitting in this pine tree under flood lights and the watchful eyes of cops, just thinking about all the implications of this pipeline and that the destruction I see 70 feet below me is just one tiny part. I feel grief, but I also feel strong!
I don’t have any food or water. I couldn’t get it high enough quickly enough, so the cops cut it down.
It’s starting to get a little chilly.
Thanks so much for all the amazing support!!
***UPDATE 8:30PM – Pika amazingly climbed up in her tree higher than the cherry picker could reach. In response, police cut her platform and climb line from her tree and retreated the cherry picker, leaving her in the tree with just the rope she has on her person and her resourcefulness. She’s currently on a limb about 70 feet in the air, chillin.
Law enforcement hasn’t left the scene, and they are there with noisy, generator-powered flood lights to induce sleep deprivation. Pika’s supporters haven’t left the scene entirely, either. Four Tar Sands Blockade supporters will be holding vigil for her through the night.
While it is a dangerous situation and it is certainly an exercise of extraordinarily questionable judgement on the part of the police, Pika is an experienced climber and we expect her to be fine.
Lauren on the other hand has been booked for the night in Nacogdoches County Jail. Her charges are Fourth Degree (State) Felony Criminal Mischief, Class A Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest, and Class B Misdemeanor Criminal Trespass. We won’t know until tomorrow when she visits with a judge what her bail will be.
Please consider making a generous donation to assist in getting Lauren free and for our peaceful, sustained resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline.
***UPDATE 6:00PM – Lauren has been removed from her platform and is under arrest. Pika is still holding strong. Our #NEWomenRising are inspirations!
Here’s Dr. Jill Stein’s testimonial video she took before her resupply mission this morning, explaining why she joined Tar Sands Blockade:
***UPDATE 5:15PM – Nacogdoces Sheriff’s Department has returned to the scene in Sacul, Texas with cherry pickers. It appears they are intent on physically removing the sitters from their platforms.
***UPDATE 3:15PM – Dr. Jill Stein has been released from Wood County Jail on a Class B Misdemeanor Criminal Trespass charge. You did know she’s the Green Party‘s presidential hopeful, right?
***UPDATE 2:15PM – From Winnsboro, we expect Dr. Jill Stein to be released within an hour. In Sacul, things are still calm. Here’s a statement from Pika expanding on her thoughts:
***UPDATE 1:15PM – In Sacul, things are quiet, police and all but one worker have left. There is a lot of local media, however, so expect some video of local TV coverage.
***UPDATE 12:30PM – From Winnsboro, we are getting pictures from the trees. Video of Jill blowing kisses from the ground to the trees is forthcoming, too.
***UPDATE 10:30AM – In Winnsboro, Dr. Jill Stein has been arrested, taken to Wood County Jail, and is awaiting processing. The freelance reporter has been released from detainment without arrest or charge.
A statement from Dr. Jill Stein:
“I’m here to connect the dots between super storm Sandy and the record heat, drought, and fire we’ve seen this year – and this Tar Sands pipeline, which will make all of these problems much worse. And I’m here to connect the dots between climate devastation and pipeline politicians – both Obama and Romney – who are competing, as we saw in the debates, for the role of Puppet In Chief for the fossil fuel industry. Both deserve that title. Obama’s record of “drill baby drill” has gone beyond the harm done by George Bush. Mitt Romney promises more of the same.”
***UPDATE 10:00AM – In Sacul, Six Nacogdoches County Sheriffs are conferring with TransCanada, inspecting rigging of tree sits, taking pictures, and making phone calls. Otherwise, Pika and Lauren are sitting tall. In Winnsboro, a police situation has complicated updates from Dr. Jill Stein’s Tree Blockade resupply efforts, though confirmed updates are forthcoming. We believe Dr. Stein’s arrest is eminent.
***UPDATE 9:15AM – In Sacul, TransCanada construction contractors have cleared a path thru a pile of felled trees and have moved some of the heavy equipment onsite. Three machines, an excavator, feller buncher, and a timber forwarder, are still immobilized by the tree sits.
***UPDATE 9:00AM – In Winnsboro, other hands have sent more supplies into the trees while Dr. Jill Stein and a freelance journalist are being detained by TransCanada private security, who are now joined by local police.
***UPDATE 8:45AM – Tar Sands Blockade supporters are rallying at the Sacul road crossing for the new tree sitters. In Winnsboro, Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein has been detained along with a freelance journalist by TransCanada’s hired private security force.
***UPDATE 8:30AM – In Winnsboro, Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein has successfully delivered resupply goods to the tree sitters! In Sacul, heavy machinery is attempting to clear a path around one of the blockades through an adjacent pile of felled trees.
Green Party Presidential Candidate Resupplies Tree Village as 2nd Tree Blockade Comes Online
Trio of New Englander women risk arrest to highlight Keystone XL’s link to extreme weather, Hurricane Sandy
WINNSBORO and SACUL, TEXAS – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2012 8:00AM – As Hurricane Sandy pushes further inland to devastate Appalachia and Canada, three women from New England, including Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein, are risking arrest to highlight the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline’s connection to extreme weather events and climate change. Dr. Stein, a Massachusetts resident, is resupplying tree sitters in Winnsboro, Texas as two women from New England launch a new tree blockade a few hours to the south near Sacul, Texas. The Winnsboro tree blockade has sustained resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline for 38 days.
“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,” said Dr. Stein. “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.”
***Stay tuned to our LiveBlog here and to our Twitter here, where we’ll be posting updates throughout the day from both sites!
Now blocking the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from two new tree platforms in Sacul, Texas to the northwest of Nacogdoches are a 24 year old duo of lifelong New England residents, Pika from Vermont and Lauren from New Hampshire. Their platforms are suspended in trees on either side of a Keystone XL highway crossing and are tied to heavy equipment, effectively immobilizing the equipment to the north and south of the crossing. Both were driven to participate with Tar Sands Blockade after witnessing the extraordinary hardship of extreme weather on their communities and extended families.
“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,“ shared Pika. “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.”
Lauren added, “I’ve always held the environment in the fore of my mind, but I haven’t always been as sensitive to the personal stories of people directly impacted by pollution as I am today. Knowing that the ruin in my home state from Sandy only stands to be amplified by the toxic, leaky Keystone XL and the extreme impact of carbon emissions from ongoing tar sands development; joining with folks from all across the political spectrum to stop it; it’s a powerfully humanizing process.”
Tar Sands Blockade is a coalition of Texas and Oklahoma landowners and climate justice organizers using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
“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.”