Sea Shepherd crew intercepts Japanese whaling ship

By Agence France-Presse

Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd said Wednesday it had intercepted the Japanese fleet in its annual Southern Ocean hunt “before a single harpoon has been fired”.

Sea Shepherd claims to have saved the lives of 4,000 whales over the past eight whaling seasons with ever-greater campaigns of harassment against the Japanese harpoon fleet.

The militant environmentalist group said the Brigitte Bardot, a former ocean racer, had intercepted the harpoon ship Yushin Maru No. 3 in the Southern Ocean at a relatively northern latitude.

“Given that the large concentrations of whales are found further south, closer to the Antarctic continent where there are high concentrations of krill, this would indicate that they have not yet begun whaling,” said Brigitte Bardot captain Jean Yves Terlain.

Former Australian politician Bob Brown, who assumed leadership of the anti-whaling campaign from fugitive Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson due to legal issues earlier this month, said it was welcome news.

“It is likely that we have intercepted these whale poachers before a single harpoon has been fired,” said Brown.

Watson is wanted by Interpol after skipping bail last July in Germany, where he was arrested on Costa Rican charges relating to a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.

He is on board Sea Shepherd’s main ship, Steve Irwin, but has stepped down as skipper and has vowed to abide by a US court ruling in December banning the group from physically confronting any vessel in the Japanese fleet.

Read more from The Raw Story:

First Nations may engage in economic blockades if Canada refuses treaty talks

By Jorge Barrera / APTN

First Nations leaders have discussed plans to launch country-wide economic disruptions by the middle of January if Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t agree to hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s demand for a treaty meeting, APTN National News has learned.

During three days of meetings and teleconferences, chiefs from across the country discussed a plan setting Jan. 16 as the day to launch a campaign of indefinite economic disruptions, including railway and highway blockades, according to two chiefs who were involved in the talks who requested anonymity.

“The people are restless, they are saying enough is enough,” said one chief, who was involved in the discussions. “Economic impacts are imminent if there is no response.”

Chiefs were still finalizing details of their plans Monday evening and it remained unclear to what extent their discussed options would translate into the official position.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo is expected to write Harper a letter outlining the chiefs’ position.

Spence launched her hunger strike on Dec. 11 to force a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General David Johnston and First Nations leaders to discuss the state of the treaties. Spence said in a statement issued Monday that the aim of the meeting was to “re-establish” the treaty relationship and finally put First Nations people in their “rightful place back here in our homelands that we all call Canada.”

The plan of action comes as the Idle No More movement continues to sweep across the country through round dances, rallies along with highway and rail blockades.

The Tyendinaga Mohawks briefly blockaded a main CN rail line between Toronto and Montreal Sunday, stranding about 2,000 Via Rail passengers. The Mi’kmaq from the Listuguj First Nation, Que., continue to hold a rail blockade on a CN line along with members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation who have shut a CN line in Sarnia, Ont. In British Columbia, the Seton Lake Indian Band ended a rail blockade on Sunday.

How the chiefs’ action plan will mesh with the Idle No More movement remains to be seen. Idle No More organizers issued a statement Monday that distanced the movement from the chiefs.

“The chiefs have called for action and anyone who chooses can join with them, however, this is not part of the Idle No More movement as the vision of this grassroots movement does not coincide with the visions of the leadership,” said the statement, posted on the Idle No More Facebook page. “While we appreciate the individual support we have received from chiefs and councillors, we have been given a clear mandate by the grassroots to work outside the systems of government and that is what we will continue to do.”

One of the chiefs involved in action plan discussion said the leadership wanted to be sensitive to the grassroots-driven movement and make clear that their plans are being developed in support and as a response to Idle No More.

“Chiefs are standing firm in support of Idle No More and grassroots citizens,” said the chief. “We now need to unify.”

Read more from APTN

Wet’suwet’en evict trespassers spying for natural gas corporation

Wet’suwet’en evict trespassers spying for natural gas corporation

By The Canadian Press

Members of a First Nation in northern B.C. have evicted surveyors working on a natural gas pipeline project from their territory and set up a roadblock against all pipeline activity.

A group identifying itself as the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation said surveyors for Apache Canada’s Pacific Trails Pipeline were trespassing.

“The Unis’tot’en clan has been dead-set against all pipelines slated to cross through their territories, which include PTP [Pacific Trails Pipeline], Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and many others,” Freda Huson, a spokesperson for the group, said in a statement.

“As a result of the unsanctioned PTP work in the Unis’tot’en yintah, the road leading into the territory has been closed to all industry activities until further notice.”

Huson was not available for comment.

It’s unclear what road is blocked, or where. The group said its territory is along the Clore River, located west of the Williams Creek Ecological Reserve about 30 kilometres southeast of Terrace.

Company spokesman Paul Wyke confirmed Wednesday that surveyors were asked to leave the area.

“We had some surveyors in the area last evening and they were asked to leave traditional territory by a small group of members from the Unis’tot’en, and they complied,” Wyke said.

“We understand that there are some members of the Unis’tot’en that have expressed some concerns with the proposed PTP project, and we continue to consult with First Nations along the entire proposed pipeline right-of-way.”

Wyke said the company will continue ongoing consultations with aboriginal groups. The project has the support of 15 of 16 aboriginal groups along the route, he said.

The blockading group said the province does not have the right to approve development on their traditional lands, which lie northwest of Kitimat, the future home of an Apache Canada liquefied natural gas plant and the tanker port for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

From the CBC:

Indigenous people in Mexico organizing resistance against corporate wind farms

Indigenous people in Mexico organizing resistance against corporate wind farms

By Jennifer M. Smith / Upside-Down World

More than five centuries after Colombus’ arrival in the Americas, the invasion of European powers continues to threaten traditional ways of life in indigenous communities in Mexico.  The conflict against the corporate takeover of the ancestral lands of the Huave, or Ikoots people, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca is just one of the struggles continuously being played out in the face of trans-national development policies such as Plan Puebla Panama (now known as Proyecto Mesoamerica).

The Ikoots people of Oaxaca have inhabited the Isthmus of Tehuantepec for more than 3000 years, pre-dating the better-known Zapotec culture in Oaxaca.  They are a fishing society that depends on the ocean for their livelihood; the Ikoots peoples’ history is so integrated with the sea that they are also known as Mareños (“Oceaners”). Now Ikoots communities are struggling to defend their ancestral lands from multinational corporations who want to build wind turbines in the water along the coast, in the very ocean that has supported their way of life for centuries.

In April of 2004, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored a study to accelerate the development of wind projects in the state of Oaxaca, which found that the best area for wind project development was in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the heart of the ancestral Ikoots territory. [1]

The proposed Parque Eolico San Dionisio (San Dionisio Wind Park), a wind farm to be constructed in the ocean along the coast, would consist of 102 wind turbines in the water outside the town of San Dionisio del Mar (and 30 more outside neighboring Santa Maria del Mar), two electric transformer substations, six access paths and additional support structures. [2] It would take up 27 kilometers of coastline.  The multinationals implementing the project have also informed the Mexican government that they will need to install 5 mooring docks in the Laguna Superior, a coastal lagoon that local communities heavily depend on for fishing. [3]

The construction of wind turbines would have a devastating effect on both Ikoots society and the environment.  The community fears that the vibration from the machines would destroy the aquatic life in the area, which is the economic basis of survival for Ikoots communities such as San Dionisio del Mar, San Mateo del Mar and San Francisco del Mar.

“This is the life of the poor: we fish so we can eat and have something to sell, to have a bit of money.  They say that now that the wind project is here, they’ll give us money for our land and sea, but the money won’t last forever.  We don’t agree with this. How are we going to live?” says Laura Celaya Altamirano, a resident of Isla Pueblo Viejo and the wife of a fisherman. [4] The wind turbines also present a threat to migratory birds and would damage the ecosystems of the local mangrove swamps.  In addition, the proposed construction would desecrate Ikoots sacred territory, namely the Isla de San Dionisio and the Barra de Santa Teresa (known by the Ikoots communities as Tileme).

The proposed location for the aquatic wind farm is San Dionisio del Mar, a town of about 5000 residents.  The project in San Dionisio is being implemented by a consortium called Mareña Renovable, which consists of the global investment bank Macquarie, based in Australia; the Dutch investment group PGGM; and the Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan.  It includes turbines constructed by the Danish Company Vestas Wind Systems, and the involvement of two wind power companies:  Grupo Preneal of Spain, and DEMEX of Mexico.  The project also has funding from the Inter-American Development Bank. [5] The electricity from the farm would be used to power such corporate giants as FEMSA (based in Mexico, the largest beverage company in Latin America), Coca-Cola, Heineken, and other multinational corporations. [6]

A total disregard for the environment and the livelihoods of local people is par for the course when multinationals step in to take over communal lands for profit.  In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, wind power companies have been exploiting local communities for years, pressuring farmers (most with little formal education) to sign contracts they often don’t understand in order to give up their rights to land that has been held communally for generations. “Oaxaca is the center of communal landownership. There is probably no worse place to make a land deal in Mexico,” says Ben Cokelet, founder of the Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research.[7]

Developers held meetings with locals in which model windmills the size of dinner platters were shown; they were led to believe they could continue farming around them. Later they were shocked to see 15-to-20-story turbines constructed, taking up acres of their land.  Developers pay the farmers a pittance in exchange for their land, often paying only 1/5th of what they would pay for similar land in the US, or 1/7thof what they would pay the Mexican government for the same land.

And, in a move that exacerbates tension in the community, local leaders are given better deals for their land in order to make the process more appealing to the rest of the population: “The first guy or two that bites gets [$8] per square meter. That’s a hundred times better contract than the other people,” says Cokelet. “But the 98 percent of farmers who sign afterwards sign on for rock-bottom prices. Those one or two people who bite – they don’t bite because they’re lucky. They bite because they know someone. And their job … is to sell it to all their neighbors.” [8]

There are currently 14 wind farms built on land in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, with 4 under construction in 2012 and 3 more scheduled for 2013. [9]  According to the Declaración de San Dionisio del Mar, released on September 17 by the indigenous rights organization UCIZONI (La Unión de Comunidades de la Zona Norte del Istmo – The Union of Communities in the North Zone of the Isthmus), the communities affected by the 14 existing wind farms have not benefited from lower electricity rates; rather, the intention of the farms is clearly to serve the interests of transnational corporations such as Coca-Cola, Walmart, Nestle, Bimbo and others. [10]

The wind turbines in San Dionisio are the first proposed turbines to be built in the sea.  Ikoots communities would not even benefit from the jobs created by the wind turbines; the construction and maintenance of the wind turbines would most certainly be given to employees of the multinational corporations funding the project, not to local fishermen.

The Ikoots community of San Dionisio del Mar did not consent to this project, nor were they even informed that it was under consideration.  The International Labour Organization, a United Nations agency dealing with labor rights, specifically states in its Convention 169 (Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples) that “special measures… be adopted to safeguard the persons, institutions, property, labour, cultures and environment of these [indigenous] peoples. In addition, the Convention stipulates that these special measures should not go against the free wishes of indigenous peoples.” Mexico ratified this convention in 1990. [11] In this case, there was no public forum or announcement regarding the construction of the wind farms.

“A common practice of foreign businesses is to ‘buy’ [via bribes] the local PRIista authorities,” says Carlos Beas Torres, a leader and co-founder of UCIZONI and a well-known activist for indigenous rights. In 2004, Alvaro Sosa, the then-president of the “comisariado de bienes comunales” (essentially, the commissary for the territory held in common by the community), signed a preliminary contract renting a section of land to the Spanish corporation Preneal without the knowledge of the town’s residents. The 30-year contract that gave the multinationals access to 1643 hectares of land; Sosa did not inform the community of this action and accepted bribes in exchange for his consent.[12]

The people of San Dionisio del Mar did not find out about the existence of this contract until late in 2011, when the municipal president, Miguel López Castellanos (a member of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI), again without consulting the community gave his permission for the consortium Mareña Renovables to begin construction of wind turbines in exchange for a payment of between 14-20 million pesos (between $1-1.5 million USD). The multinationals claim to have given him 20 million pesos, but Lopez Castellanos only admits to receiving 14 million pesos. [13]

Upon this discovery, the residents of San Dionisio held a public assembly where they demanded that the municipal president revoke his consent for the wind farm, which he refused to do. In February, representatives from the community met with DEMEX in Mexico City to request that the contract process start over, but were turned down. [14] Thus the struggle for control of the Ikoots’ ancestral land began.

Not surprisingly, an intense resistance movement against the wind farm has surged in San Dionisio del Mar.  The townspeople have initiated a legal battle in the Tribunal Unitario Agrario (Agrarian Unitary Tribunal), the government agency in charge of settling agrarian disputes, in an attempt to nullify the contract.  However they are also taking direct action in an attempt to defend their land.

In late January 2012, community members took possession of the municipal palace in San Dionisio in protest, ejecting municipal president Miguel López Castellanos, creating the Asamblea General del Pueblo de San Dionisio (General Assembly of the People of San Dionisio), and declaring themselves in resistance.[15]  In April, the San Dionisio communal assembly prevented employees of the multinationals from laying out access roads in the Barra de Santa Teresa, and set up a permanent watch to make sure the contractors do not return. [16]

In September, community members organized a national encuentro (or gathering) in San Dionisio, with the participation of around 300 people from 25 different indigenous and activist organizations from 6 different states in Mexico.[17]  The intent of the encuentro was not only to raise awareness on what was happening on Ikoots land, but also to create a large-scale national plan of action to resist megaprojects such as the wind farms. “It’s practically a second Spanish Conquest; they’re coming again to snatch our land with a contract that is completely advantageous, draconian and in violation of our rights as indigenous people,” says Jesús García Sosa, a representative of the Asamblea General. [18]

The resistance movement continues to grow despite threats and intimidation, as well as actual physical attacks on community members committed by opposing political factions. The general consensus is that these factions are being paid by the multinationals involved to hamper resistance to the development project. On August 25, a representative of the Asamblea General named Moisés Juárez Muriel was brutally attacked while walking home in the evening by two men who beat him with stones.

He was taken by two compañeros in resistance to the IMSS-Complamar clinic, where he was refused treatment because the clinic was under control of the municipal president. [19] In mid-September, immediately after the conclusion of the encuentro in support of the Ikoots community members in resistance, a group of heavily armed individuals surrounded the municipal palace that the community members were occupying, pointing guns at and intimidating the people who were guarding the building. [20]

Resistance movement leaders have also received public death threats from political parties and anonymous sources. On October 6, a group of PRI agitators marched through San Dionisio, making specific death threats against Bettina Cruz Velazquez, a well-known human rights activist and founder of the Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Defense of Land and Territory).

Cruz Velazquez is deeply involved in the resistance movement against the wind project. Human rights groups in Mexico have formally asked the governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, to guarantee her safety.  [21] Carlos Beas Torres of UCIZONI has received threatening phone calls for his public stance in opposition of the project. [22]

In some cases, attempts to stop resistance support have led to clashes. In mid-October, two organizations, El Frente por la Defensa de la Tierra (The Front for the Defense of the Earth) and UCIZONI sent a caravan of support attempting to bring food and supplies to the community in resistance in San Dionisio. A blockade was set up by armed PRIista sympathizers of the municipal president, Miguel López Castellanos, to keep the caravan from passing. [23] A violent confrontation ensued.

“The store owners in San Dionisio belong to the PRI and refuse to sell food to the people resisting the wind project,” says Carlos Alberto Ocaña, whose father (a native of San Dionisio) was the driver of the first truck in the supply caravan. “When the caravan approached the town, it was stopped by a blockade of about 70 people. They had guns, machetes, and gasoline for setting the cars on fire.  My father was in the first truck with five other people. They PRIistas in the blockade pulled them out of the truck and started beating them.”

The police eventually arrived, but the caravan was unable to pass the barricade to reach San Dionisio and eventually it was forced to turn back without delivering the supplies.

On October 17 and 18, members of the Asamblea General of San Dionisio, UCIZONI, la Asamblea de Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio, la Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (Mexican Allaince for the Self-Determination of the People, AMAP), and a half dozen other groups held protests in Mexico City. They held rallies in front of the Interamerican Development Bank, Mitsubishi, Coca-Cola, Vestas, and the Danish embassy. Their goal was twofold: to impede the construction of the wind park in San Dionisio, but also to publicly denounce the environmental and cultural damage that threatens the Ikoots communities of the Isthmus.

They were received and allowed to present written complaints at the Interamerican Development Bank, Vestas, and the Danish embassy.  oca-Cola-FEMSA refused to meet with them. [24] As of this writing, the Ikoots communities’ struggle against corporate takeover continues; in November representatives of the community will travel to the Netherlands, with the support of Dutch unions, to present a letter of protest in person to the Dutch investment company PGGM.

In the words of Asamblea General representative Jesús García Sosa, “We will not allow that business and government to yet again displace us from our territory, which symbolizes our very life, our mother, our father; we can’t sell it to them or put a price on it, much less in exchange for projects of death and plunder.” [25]

On October 30th, President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, who was in Oaxaca to inaugurate a new highway, also travelled to inaugurate the Piedra Larga Wind Park. Calderon saluted the project, citing it as a solution to poverty and climate change, and mentioning the “additional income” the residents of the town Unión Hidalgo would receive for allowing the turbines to be installed on their communal land.

Meanwhile, 300 meters outside the park, theirn entrance blocked by national police, nearly 200 people from different communities in the region including San Mateo del Mar, San Dionisio del Mar, San Francisco del Mar, Unión Hidalgo, Juchitán, Santa María Xadani and the UCIZONI, protested the park’s opening. [26]

1. Noticias de Oaxaca, Oct. 14 2012.

2. Noticias de Oaxaca, Aug. 20 2012.

3. Noticias de Oaxaca, Apr. 21 2012.

4. Noticias de Oaxaca, Aug. 20 2012.

5. Recharge News, Mar. 12 2012.

6. Noticias de Oaxaca, Apr. 23 2012.

7. Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 26 2012.

8. Ibid

9. Noticias de Oaxaca, Oct. 11 2012.

10. UCIZONI statement, Sept. 17 2012.

11. International Labor Organization Convention 169.

12. La Jornada, Aug. 23 2012.

13. Noticias de Oaxaca, Aug. 20 2012.

14. Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 28 2012.

15. El Sol del Istmo, Jan. 30 2012.

16. Noticias de Oaxaca, Apr. 21 2012.

17. Despertar de Oaxaca, Sept. 28 2012.

18. Noticias de Oaxaca, Aug. 20 2012.

19. Quadratin Oaxaca, Oct. 9 2012.

20. Ibid.

21. E-Oaxaca, Oct. 15 2012.

22. Quadratin Oaxaca, Oct. 9 2012

23. E-Oaxaca, Oct. 11 2012. (Link at no longer works)

24. La Jornada, Oct. 17 2012:

25. Noticias de Oaxaca, Aug. 20 2012.

26. Eco Noticias Huatulco. Oct 30, 2012.

From Upside Down World:

Activists in UK lock down in chimneys of gas-fired power plant

Activists in UK lock down in chimneys of gas-fired power plant

By Martin Wainwright / The Guardian

Around 20 climate change protesters have seriously disrupted operations at one of the UK’s new generation of gas-fired power stations at West Burton in Nottinghamshire.

Police have made five arrests but overnight eleven protesters from the campaign group No Dash for Gas successfully scaled the middle of the plant’s 91m (300ft) metal chimneys – the plant’s water cooling towers – and another six have occupied a second one which was not yet in use, securing themselves on ledges.

One of the group tweeted exuberantly with accompanying pictures: “Guess where we woke up this morning! Dawn sun shining on other chimney where friends are perched on the ledge.”

Speaking from the group’s makeshift but sophisticated camp slung on the central chimney shortly before 1pm, one of them said: “we are settling in nicely. At the moment some of us are setting up a solar panel and there’s a group fixing our portable loo. We’ve got a portable ledge lowered a short way down the flue with plenty of room for people to sleep on. EDF [the plant’s operator] have assured us that the chimney had been shut down but we’re still a but worried about gases being around. But the plan is to stay up here with some of us in the flue to stop the furnace starting again.”

Ben Healey of No Dash For Gas said that the middle of the plant’s three cooling towers had been working but had now shut down, with steam no longer pouring from its brim. He said: “There are nine activists up there and they have started abseiling down into the flue to prevent the furnaces being relit. That means we are in for the long haul.

“The six people on the other chimney, which is not yet fully built, have barricaded themselves in place and will be very difficult to dislodge.”

The protesters said they had spent a busy night climbing the chimney and hauling up their equipment and food supplies to last at least a week.

The plant’s owners and operators EDF confirmed that the middle tower had been closed down.

No Dash for Gas said that the action was aimed at stopping operations at the £600m power station that is one of a cluster of plants built around the site of the deserted medieval village of West Burton in the valley of the River Trent.

The group said: “West Burton power station is being targeted because it’s one of the first in a new generation of highly polluting gas plants planned for the UK. The coalition government recently announced that it intends to give the green light to as many as 20 new gas plants – a move that would crash Britain’s carbon targets, contribute to the climate crisis and push up bills.”

Nottinghamshire police said that access had been gained to the site by protesters at about 1.20am. A police spokesman said: “Around 10 are thought to have climbed the water towers and have secured themselves to restrict their removal. Searches are ongoing to find a number of other people who are also believed to have gained access to the site.”

Read more from The Guardian:

More than 50 campaigners swarm tar sands tree-sit to resupply blockaders

More than 50 campaigners swarm tar sands tree-sit to resupply blockaders

By Candice Bernd / TruthOut

More than 50 blockaders tried to re-enter the site of what has become a historic standoff Monday, to expand and support the ongoing Tar Sands Blockade tree village in east Texas.

Several managed to break through police lines to attempt to re-supply activists who have been occupying trees in the pathway of the Keystone XL pipeline since September 24. The rest of the blockaders rallied nearby, blocked by police and TransCanada’s hired security, who have formed a human barrier around the pipeline easement.

Two blockaders have locked themselves to construction equipment, and six blockaders have been arrested so far today.

Blockaders have been trying to negotiate with security hired by TransCanada to get food and water to activists occupying the trees in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline, to no avail. Now they are taking a stand together to get supplies to the activists occupying the tree-sit so they may maintain their standoff.

The activists were gathered at the location in Winnsboro after spending the weekend at a direct-action camp hosted by Tar Sands Blockade. Activists traveled from across the country and were trained in climbing, media relations, organizing and body blockade techniques.

“Coming out here had been one of the more inspiring things that I have done in years now,” says Toby Potter, a member of the environmental organization, Earth First!

Potter helped lead workshops over the weekend for camp participants in lockdowns and body blockades. “It gives me a lot of hope, seeing all this resistance from the area … and from around the country, and knowing that there’s [sic] other fights against tar sands at the same time.”

Potter helped camp participants erect a 30-foot wooden tripod used by activists who sit at the top of it during a blockade action. Many of the weekend’s campers participated in Monday’s blockade in Winnsboro to defend the tree village.

TransCanada filed a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) last week, naming 19 individual defendants, three organizations, and another six unidentified tree-sitters. The broad civil action seeks an injunction, declaratory relief and damages.

Most of the defendants have been arrested in previous Tar Sands Blockade actions. Ron Seifert, the Blockade’s media spokesman, was also named, although he has not yet been arrested in connection with the ongoing protest. Actor Daryl Hannah, who was arrested while defending Area Landowner Eleanor Fairchild’s home, is not named in the SLAPP suit. Fairchild, however, is named in the suit.

Another activist, going by the name Kevin Redding due to security concerns, recently escaped arrest at a secondary tree-sit the Blockade launched last week at West End Nature Preserve outside Mt. Vernon, Texas, where TransCanada had announced plans to cut trees.

“I’ve lived in Texas my whole life, and when I heard about TransCanada putting the pipeline through, I didn’t like the idea of any part of Texas having a tar sands pipeline going through it,” Redding told Truthout. “I’ve been here for a long time, and I don’t plan on going anywhere.”

Redding said local police tried to intimidate him, as he sat in a tree, with threats that he would be charged with terrorism. When company representatives said they would under-bore through the preserve, rather than cut trees in the ecologically sensitive area, the activist left the site, unobserved.

Monday’s action comes on the heels of an ongoing police crackdown not only on the tree-sitters, but also on journalists trying to tell their story. Two New York Times reporters were detained Oct. 10 while covering  the tree-sit. They were released after identifying themselves as media.

Read more from TruthOut: