Keystone XL activists arrested outside TransCanada Houston office

Two people were arrested Monday morning as scores of protesters against the Keystone XL pipeline occupied the lobby of a Houston office for TransCanada, owner of the controversial pipeline, a spokesman for the protesters said.

The activist from Tar Sands Blockade stormed the office on Post Oak Boulevard near the Galleria mall. Dozens of police, including horse-mounted officers, are now manning the area as protesters march around the block dressed as a papier-mache dragon and chanting “Toxic tar sands spill! Tar and benzene kill!”

The group passed out hand-written fliers to shoppers and passers-by that admonished them to “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE TAR SANDS” and outlined the group’s arguments against Keystone’s construction in Texas.

It’s the latest in a string of protests by the group.

“We’re sending a message that we’re not going to stop until these people stop,” said Ron Seifert, a spokesman for the group Tar Sands Blockade.

He said close to 100 people participated in the protest and two were arrested. The crowd had thinned to around 50 by noon. Police confirmed that there were arrests but would not say how many.

TransCanada released the following statement Monday afternoon:

TransCanada has the legal authority to construct the Gulf Coast Project, and this is another example of the protestors’ attempt to stop a project that is currently providing thousands of jobs to American workers. This project is also a key component of the “all of the above” strategy to enhance American energy security – especially refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.