Keystone XL protesters rally in Texas tree

Jan. 4, 2013 at 7:58 AM

LUFKIN, Texas, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A protester removed from a tree by Texas authorities said the Keystone XL oil pipeline planned through the state represents a significant environmental threat.

Authorities in Angelina County in East Texas used a crane to reach Audrey Campbell, 22, and remove her from a tree where she was protesting the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline.

In a statement from advocacy group Tar Sands Blockade, Campbell said before her arrest that she was acting out of "moral necessity."

"Extraction of the tar sands is the most destructive project on the continent," she said.

Last month, a Texas judge lifted a restraining order for the construction of the U.S. leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. Landowner Michael Bishop accused TransCanada of misleading him about the type of crude oil designated for the project.

Keystone XL and its domestic leg, the Gulf Coast project, are designated for tar sands oil, seen by critics as more corrosive and a greater environmental threat than other forms of oil.

Campbell was charged with tampering with public utilities, a state felony, reports local broadcaster KTRE. One protester remained suspended in a tree as of Friday morning.

TransCanada is in the process of constructing the Gulf Coast project. Federal approval is needed for Keystone XL because it would cross the U.S.-Canadian border.

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