Pipeline protesters strike Diboll area

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Officials have removed a Keystone XL pipeline protester from a Diboll tree Thursday evening around 6:30 p.m. The individual was brought to the ground by a cherry picker.

Audrey Campbell, 22, of Boulder, Colorado was arrested for tampering with public utilities, a state jail felony, and criminal mischief. Officials say Campbell was temporarily living in Nacogdoches.

Sheriff's deputies said the second protestor is still up in a tree located deep in the woods, they plan to come back at 8 a.m. Friday morning to get them.

Security will stay out there all night until daybreak.

Earlier Thursday, two tree sitters suspended themselves in structures made from wood in trees about fifty feet high.

East Texas News learned that the protesters are in trees on Angelina County property, and they have been charged with trespassing. This tree sitting protest has been staged less than 10 miles south of Diboll on Angelina County property next to US Highway 59.


Photos from Diboll pipeline protest

Tar Sands Blockade leaders like Ron Seifert said these protesters have climbed dangerous heights to let Angelina County residents know fuel will be refined in their area.

"They feel so strongly that at this point doing nothing is a greater risk than taking action," Seifert said. "They're putting their lives on the line to send a clear message that enough is enough."

Angelina County Sheriffs Deputies have been on site all day today trying to negotiate with this tree sitter from Nacogdoches.

"We've been negotiating since we first got here," Captain Alton Lenderman of the Angelina County Sheriff's Office said. "Of course we realize it's not their first rodeo, but it's not our either. So you know our main goal is to resolve it without anybody getting hurt."

Lenderman said the people in the trees are on Angelina County property, and as a result, they are trespassing. He explained that makes the location a crime scene, and if someone enters a crime scene without permission, law enforcement officials have the right to at least detain him or her and ask for ID.

"Now, if you don't let us detain you, that's evading detention, and that's another charge itself," Lenderman said. "Then once you're detained, you're under arrest for evading detention."

During the day, one of the tree sitters asked to speak with a county commissioner. She stated that would be the only way she would climb down.

"I got a call from the sheriff's department saying that the protestors up in the tree there wish to speak to an elected official, and that they would come down to talk to me," Scott Cooper, the county commissioner for Pct. 4, said. "And they have yet to come down."

The tree sitter decided to stay put and failed to talk to anyone. She told deputies the only way she would come down is if those who were arrested early this morning would be released without charges.

Right now the tree sitters are still actively protesting Angelina County Sheriff's deputies are on site coming up with a plan to get the man and woman down from the trees safely.

David Dodson with the TransCanada Gulf Coast Project says everyone has a right to express their opinion, but no one has the right to commit a crime while exercising that right.

"Your pipe dream is our nightmare," reads a large homemade sign in the area.

A press release from Tar Sands Blockade calls the blockade "unprecedented" and shielded by an 80-foot perimeter of lines which, if disturbed, would put the blockaders in danger. However, construction workers are working around the perimeter.

Deputies with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office are on the scene. Three of the protesters have been detained because they refused to give deputies their names and/or their driver's licenses.

The deputies arrested Dakoda Nikalie Benson, 21, of Kalamazoo, Mich., Patrick William Boyle, 30, of Denver, and Gerald Sproehlich, 23, of Sheboygan, Wisc.

As of 4:30 p.m., Sproehlich was the only one booked into the Angelina County Jail. He is charged with Class A evading detention and Class B criminal trespass. His bail is set at a collective $3,000, but is being held by another agency, according to jail records.

By 4:45 p.m., Boyle was booked on a charge of Class A evading detention at a bail of $1,500.

By 5:15 p.m., Benson was booked on a charge of Class A evading detention at a bail of $1,500.

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