Citing media reports about the connection between climate change and Hurricane Sandy, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested on Wednesday while attempting to deliver supplies to activists in Texas who’re camping in trees to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“Everyone needs to step up resistance to climate-killing emissions,” Stein said in a prepared statement published shortly after her arrest. “Romney and Obama are only talking about the symptoms of climate change in terms of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy; the blockaders are addressing the cause.”
TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline project aims to ultimately transport thick, gritty crude from Canada to the Texas Gulf coast. The company sees the pipeline as a key to unlocking the hydrocarbon reserves in Canada’s tar sands, which climate scientists say is one of the largest standing pools of trapped carbon on the planet.
The company’s plan to build their pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border was denied following mass protests at the White House in which hundreds of activists were arrested for committing civil disobedience — including Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Although the pipeline plan was turned down, it was due to a technicality: Republicans in Congress mandated a deadline on the decision that the State Department could not meet, but they’ve since campaigned against President Barack Obama by blaming him for their own actions. Nevertheless, the Obama administration invited TransCanada to reapply, although a decision won’t be made on their proposal until 2013 at the earliest. Meanwhile, construction of the pipeline’s southern leg began in earnest across Texas.
That construction has proved controversial, attracting activists who are currently camping in trees blocking the pipeline’s path. Actress Daryl Hannah, known for her roles in “Splash” and “Kill Bill,” was arrested earlier this month when she joined a neighbor who was demonstrating against construction on her property. Despite having the landowner’s permission to be there, both Hannah and her neighbor were arrested for trespassing.
The protest was in part inspired by activists on an adjacent property who’ve been sitting in trees to block the pipeline’s construction. Low on supplies and facing constant police presence, Stein said she felt they could use some support. “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,” she said before her arrest. “Hurricane Sandy is just a taste of what’s to come under the climate destroying policies of Romney and Obama.”
Stein was briefly jailed for trespassing, but released later in the evening after posting a $1,500 bond. It was her second arrest, following an act of civil disobedience outside the third U.S. presidential debate, from which Stein was excluded.
This video is from KLTV 7 in east Texas, broadcast October 31, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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