In celebration of the one-month milestone of our sustained tree blockade two more people joined the blockade! In defiance of TransCanada’s police repression these two brave blockaders managed to sneak past the security perimeter, floodlights, and 24/7 surveillance to join our friends in the trees. There are now a total of four tree blockaders defending the blockade despite TransCanada’s recent moves to attempt to build the toxic pipeline around the blockade.
Cat Ripley, 20, is no stranger to TransCanada’s toxic pipelines. She helped stop the proposed Palomar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline last year. The pipeline was a joint venture between TransCanada and Portland based energy company Northwest Natural. It would have bisected organic farmland south of Portland before clear-cutting through the pristine Mt. Hood National Forrest. Because of Cat’s work organizing with the watchdog group called Bark, she helped stop this toxic project in its tracks on March 23, 2011 when the companies withdrew their permit application.
“I’ve stopped pipelines before. I came out here two weeks ago to help stop TransCanada’s latest toxic pipeline,“ said Cat. “Being here in Texas has been a beautiful, nurturing experience. I look forward to going up into the trees in solidarity with everyone in the blockade.”
Joining Cat and the two others in trees is Jerry O’Brien, 23, who hails from Milwaukee. “I can’t stand by and watch something as disastrous as this pipeline be built without stepping in to do something about it. We know we can’t count on politicians to do it for us,” said Jerry. “The only thing we can do is have faith in is our power when we get together to use direct action to stop that which threatens our communities.”
Below is an email we got from Cat to let us know they safely made it into the trees.
At first there was one [TransCanada's police officer/security guard]. He sat on a fallen log and stared up at us, just a silhouette in the darkness. More came within a minute of our victory cigarette, about seven. They ran around a pulled on the cables, shaking the platform. Eventually, one – a younger bloke, very collegiate – called up:
“If I ask you one question, will you answer it?”
I reply, “Well, that is a question. As for the next one, maybe.”
He asks again, “So what’s the point you know, if it’s already gone around you?”
“Solidarity!” I say.
He wishes us safety and joins back up with the others. I imagine they’ll sit round smoking cigarettes for a while. Jerry is on the top bunk tonight. As for me, I’m due for some rest. Climbing up a tree larger in circumference than my own wingspan is hella draining.
With love from the trees,