Guest post by Christopher Voss, an East Texas farmer, who was arrested during our second action in Livingston, Texas on August 28th. Read his personal account about how he joined the movement to stop Keystone XL.
The first time I heard of the Keystone XL Pipeline was during a meeting of an environmental organization that represents the Texoma Area where I live. Citizens Organizing for Resources and Environment (CORE) was started in 2006 to fight the local construction of a coal plant. Through this work, we became involved in the fight against coal plants state-wide and were part of a coalition that helped stop six coal plants from being built in Texas. Since that time CORE had been focusing on how local food issues impact the environment, so the fight against the Keystone pipeline was something of a return to our roots.
At the meeting I mentioned a couple of concerned citizens from Oklahoma came to speak to us about the pipeline’s route. It is slated to enter Texas from Oklahoma through Fannin County, where I live. Since CORE is focused mostly on environmental issues relating to Fannin and Grayson Counties, the Oklahomans felt like we would be natural allies. They came prepared with maps and flyers about the pipeline and the tar sands that it would transport. We decided at that meeting to begin doing research about the pipeline’s route to see if we could make common cause with some of the folks whose land was in jeopardy from the pipeline.
Another battle that CORE has been involved with for several years now is fighting the construction of a new reservoir (the Lower Bois d’Arc Reservoir) proposed by the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). That reservoir, if built, will flood over 16,000 acres of farm lands and old growth hardwoods to provide water to the metroplex. In the process of building the reservoir, NTMWD is required to purchase and maintain land as a mitigation area for the habitat that will be destroyed by the reservoir. The land purchased, we recently discovered, is in the North-East corner of Fannin County.
How are the reservoir and the pipeline related? In doing our research into who owns the land that the KXL will be crossing through in Fannin County we learned that the NTMWD’s recently purchased mitigation land is the site of the pipeline right-of-way. The Keystone XL pipeline will go directly through land that was purchased by NTMWD to provide habitat for wildlife that will be displaced by the reservoir! Some mitigation.
Just a few weeks ago, driving around in the area where the pipeline will come into Fannin County, we saw survey stakes for Keystone XL which show that the pipeline will also go under the Bois d’Arc creek. This is the very creek that will feed into Lower Bois d’Arc Reservoir. One can imagine the impact if the pipeline should leak at this location.
Imagine a spill like the one that occurred in the Kalamazoo River in 2010, damaging land that is supposed to be protected habitat for displaced wildlife and polluting a creek that feeds a newly built reservoir for one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country.
It is for this reason, and many others, that I was willing to lock myself to semi-truck carrying Keystone XL pipe with a group of dedicated individuals and risk going to jail to try to stop this toxic pipeline. Only by putting ourselves in the path of this destruction do we have a chance to stop it.
Support Tar Sands Blockade and consider joining an action and attend the Direct Action Training Camp October 12-14. Together, we the people, can take the power back from the corrupt politicians and the corporations that rule them to protect our precious environment and help maintain an Earth that is habitable for us and a multitude of other species. It is our sacred duty. Will you stand with me?