On the 19th of November, Chesapeake Earth First sent a banner suspended from balloon into the high outdoor overhang of the Canadian Embassy. The Alberta Tar Sands in Canada are the reason for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The original target was another of Transcanada’s law firm, Bryan Cave LLP, a law firm active in the energy and “intellectual property” fields. McKenna, Long and Ostridge, the target of the last Chesapeake Earth First action, is subcontracted by Bryan Cave to represent TransCanada.
Transcanada must have a lot of legal work to go around, what with all the eminent domain cases in Texas, the SLAPP lawsuit against some of the tar sands blockaders, and all those environmental regulations and permit problems they dislike so much! Bryan Cave’s website lists “Texas Super Lawyers 2012” as an award they have won, raising the eminent domain and SLAPP questions again.
The “no tar sands pipeline” banner was hung at the Canadian Embassy after an attempt to storm Bryan Cave LLP and hang the banner there was repulsed. It appears that Transcanada contractors were expecting trouble, as a security guard was stationed outside their F street office building. One person distracted the guard, two people with the banner got in. Several more security guards then converged on the banner crew while a few more protesters entered the building.
The banner and balloons did not rise fast enough to get them out of potential reach of security guards, so activists grabbed the banner and pulled it down and out the door as security guards started pushing people. There were not yet enough protesters inside to from a security cordon around the rising banner.
At that point, Chesapeake Earth First disengaged Bryan Cave LLP and tore the strip at the bottom of the banner bearing their name off. Activists then proceeded to hang the banner at the Canadian Embassy, where it appeared they were NOT expected at all. It must have taken over 5 minutes for a security guard to come out and demand that the banner be removed. In the absence of projectile weapons there was of course no way to comply even if people had wanted to, and Earth First disengaged without incident.
As for Bryan Cave, this time they were lucky. The larger crew from the November 5th storming of McKenna, Long and Ostridge would have been able to drive a column of protesters through the 3 or 4 guards, then put a protective cordon around the banner until it reached safe height. There were no cops, only rented security guards, and Chesapeake Earth First was gone before any cops could arrive.
Meanwhile, in Cherokee County, Texas, 40 people swarmed Transcanada’s attempt to build in that area and shut down construction there. Workers left the site by 9:10 AM, shutting it down for the entire day. Considerable violence was used by the Cherokee County sheriff’s department, resuling in 9 arrests and several people pepper sprayed. This is in addition to the longstanding blockade elsewhere in Texas, now on its 57th day as this is written.