Despite injunction, activists continue plans to thwart Keystone XL

Environmental activists say they will continue to push for efforts to thwart Keystone XL construction, even after agreeing to a court injunction that prevents some of them from interfering with work on the transnational pipeline.

A group of activists and organizations that  had been sued by pipeline owner TransCanada agreed last week to cease their efforts to impede Keystone XL construction. For months, the groups and protesters have orchestrated a campaign to stop pipeline work, camping in trees, standing in front of heavy machinery and even locking themselves to equipment.

But the agreement only required the nearly two dozen defendants in the case to stop their direct physical efforts to interfere with pipeline work, said Ron Seifert, a spokesman for the group Tar Sands Blockade.

“This settlement does not change anything about the ability to resist Keystone XL,” Seifert said. “Although it might be the case that a few individuals might be restrained from access to the TransCanada easement, that cannot and will not stop grassroots resistance to this project.”

Seifert, who was one of the defendants in the case and agreed to the injunction, said the agreement does not affect his ability to speak out against the pipeline and encourage obstructionist efforts.

According to the court-ordered permanent injunction, Seifert, Tar Sands Blockade and other groups and individuals agreed to be be restrained from “interfering with, preventing, obstructing or otherwise infringing, in any way, with Keystone’s use and enjoyment of any easement, right-of-way, lease or other property interest in Texas or Oklahoma.”

Those efforts could include physically occupying Keystone XL property, interfering with and disabling equipment used for Keystone XL work, and even “chaining, shackling, binding or attaching a person’s body or any other object article or mechanism to Keystone equipment” to stop or impede construction activity.

TransCanada cheered the agreement as a step forward.

“We hope that they mean what they say in this agreement and will end their unlawful campaign of obstruction and intimidation,” according to a TransCanada statement on the agreement with protesters. “If they do, workers can safely get to their jobs, and first responders can devote their full efforts to the safety and protection of the community.”

But Seifert insisted that the agreement will not mean an end to protest efforts.

“There’s nothing stopping Texans that want to rise up and defend their homes from doing so,” he said.

Tar Sands Blockade is working to organize “an entire week of action against TransCanada and the pipeline” in March, Seifert said.

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Read previous FuelFix coverage of the fight between TransCanada and protesters:

Keystone XL work veers onto wrong land (Jan. 28)
Deal reached in Texas court over Keystone XL protests (Jan. 27)
Keystone XL activists arrested outside TransCanada Houston office (Jan. 7)
Texas tree protesters to descend as Keystone XL moves on (Dec. 19)
Texas judge dissolves restraining order on Keystone XL (Dec. 13)
Keystone XL opponents arrested (Nov. 29)