7 arrested in Polk Co. pipeline protest

Published: Aug. 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2012 at 9:49 PM CDT
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POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested two women and five men who illegally trespassed on private property in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday morning.

"Doing nothing is a greater risk than taking action," said Ron Seifert, the protest facilitator.

Seifert facilitates protests of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Work began on part of the project earlier this month.

This portion is set to stretch from Oklahama to the Gulf Coast.

For protesters, the pipeline is taking away from their way of life.

"Thousands of acres of private land are being taken by this corporation," Seifert said. "I mean, these are people's homes that are being taken, that are being expropriated, that are being stolen from them."

Tuesday in Livingston, two women and five men were arrested on criminal trespassing charges.

Four protesters used locking devices to attach themselves to the bottom of a pipe-carrying truck.

Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammock says it took nearly three hours to arrest all seven participants.

"It's unclear how they were extracted from the vehicle at this point," Seifert said. "I know police had been threatening using 'pain compliance,' things like pepper spray. I know they disassembled at least one part of the truck to get one of the blockaders off."

Transcanada's pipeline is intended to transport tar sands through miles of pipeline into Gulf Coast refineries.

Seifert says it's a huge health risk.

"The regulators that are in charge of keeping track of the safety of pipelines," Seifert said. "Don't even know if tar-sands is safe. They're currently studying it. The National Academy of Sciences is reviewing whether tar sands are even safe to put in a pipeline."

Seifert says this is one of the first of many protests to come, fighting for what's right.

Hammock said two protesters were between the wheels of the truck with their arms tied together. One protestor released himself and a fourth had to be removed by removing a bar from the truck.

The other three protesters were standing around on the private property, which belonged to a contracting company called Sunland.

The names of those arrested are not yet being released.