11/17/2012 Occupy Austin participates in a national solidarity action in support of the Tar Sands Blockade, a group attempting to block the construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline in East Texas. Gathering outside the offices of the Railroad Commission of Texas in downtown Austin, the group also hung a banner across the street and tried to speak with the Commissioner.
Description by John Jack Anderson
TransCanada is stealing our land to kill our planet. Join us and our sisters and brothers around the nation to rally in solidarity with the ongoing Tar Sands Blockade.
Some background about the location, this building was selected for two reasons. First, it houses the Texas Railroad Commission offices. The Railroad Commission is the government agency responsible for permitting pipeline projects, and they are the ones who granted TransCanada and the Keystone XL project "common carrier" status. It is this status which allows TransCanada to use the power of eminent domain to steal private land to build their Keystone XL pipeline.
(Note: A recent Texas Supreme Court case ruled that the application process for common carrier status, the status that allows private companies to seize property, does not not conclusively establish eminent-domain power. 12.5% of the land for this project in Texas had to be seized from the landowner.)
This location is also important because Jerry Patterson, the Texas Land Commissioner (and he is also running for Lt. Governor of Texas) wrote a nasty op-ed about the Tarsands Blockade which was full of factual errors, mischaracterizations, and out and out nonsense. You can read it here: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20121016-jerry-patterson-eco-anarchists-co-opting-states-private-property-tradition.ece
Video produced and edited for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala. Filmed by Mari Hernandez A ZGraphix production. http://zgraphix.org