Hopkins County Deputy, Brad Cummings, talks to members of the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Protest
Group, who attached themsevles to heavy equipment at a construction site, in eastern Hopkins County,
TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Protesters
Attach Themselves to Equipment, Near Saltillo
by: Bobby McDonald
When construction workers arrived at a construction site for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, in eastern Hopkins County, on Wednesday morning, they found individuals of a TransCanada Protest Group, chained to their equipment, to thwart the progress of the construction process. The heavily controversial pipeline, reaching from Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast Region of South Texas, has been a "political football" and has many landowners along the route upset over the environmental issues and the taking of property by eminent domain.
"We're against the taking of property by eminent domain for private gain," expressed Ron Seifert, a longtime advocate for personal property rights, and a spokesman for the protesters. "We feel that our government shouldn't be able to take private property by eminent domain so that big oil companies and private individuals can profit, with no concern for the land owner!"
Precinct #3 Hopkins County Commissioner, Don Patterson, visits with the construction foreman
and a Hopkins County Sheriffs Deputy, at the construction site, where the protest was being
held, between Weaver and Saltillo.
The Hopkins County Sheriff's Office was contacted on Wednesday morning, by construction workers at the site, and called to the scene to attempt a negotiation with the protesters, when they arrived at dawn and found them attached to the equipment, preventing work at the pipeline site. "We're here to try to negotiate with them, to prevent a peaceable solution," expressed Hopkins County Sheriffs Deputies, on the scene. "We can hopefully resolve this issue peaceably!"
Members of the group that were attached to the equipment, at approximately 11:00 a.m., were refusing to remove themselves and facing possible arrest for obstructing the progress of the pipeline construction. "We believe that as members of the American public, we have the right to protest and to stop this detrimental project that threatens everyone, with a number of safety issues, and environmental concerns," stated one of the protesters, attached to the "track" of one of the pieces of equipment.
"Would you be willing to remove yourself from this area and join the other protesters on the county road?" negotiated Deputy Brad Cummings.
"No, we feel we have a right to be here as American citizens and to impede this process!" stated the protester.
Meanwhile, a number of other members of the group held signs on the side of Hopkins County Road-3532 and spoke with us. "I'm a property owner, in the path of the pipeline," expressed Susan Scott. "I own 60 acres of natural woodlands, near Winnsboro, and they plan to come across it and destroy trees, and take the property for whatever price they determine,and they will not answer my questions as to what will be transported through the lines and the safety issues involved!"
On Wednesday morning, in near 90 degree temperatures, at the property located between Lollars Branch and Stouts Creek, it seemed that there was no negotiating with those involved, and intent on stopping the process of the pipeline.
Return to www.frontporchnewstexas for further coverage, as the issue develops in eastern Hopkins County.