An opponent of the Keystone XL oil pipeline has been arrested after interrupting a pipeline industry conference by chaining himself to the sound equipment. Ramsey Sprague disrupted a speech by Tom Hamilton, the manager of quality and compliance for TransCanada’s controversial pipeline, during a conference in Texas. He railed against the pipeline for several minutes as a security official tried to stop him.
Ramsey Sprague: “Keystone XL will be a massive failure. Tar Sands Blockade has proof positive that the welds are false. We’ve been inside the pipe, light shining through at morning, with photographic and video evidence their welds are inadequate. That pipe went into the ground less than an hour later.”
Official: “With great respect, sir. With great respect, sir…”
Ramsey Sprague: “This is a…”
Official: “Sorry, please, I — we understand that you’re here to make your point. Your point has been made. You’re locked to our equipment. How do we get you off here?”
Ramsey Sprague: “I don’t have a key.”
Official: “That’s a terrible, crying shame. Would you mind being quiet while he finishes his speech? And we’re going to get some bolt cutters here.”
Sprague continued to decry TransCanada’s plan to build a pipeline carrying tar sands crude from Canada to Texas for several minutes as officials were unable to remove him.
Official: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d just like to say I apologize for this disruption. We’ll be playing some gentle music and be getting some bolt cutters, and we will resume as soon as we can. Unfortunately, we can’t remove the speaker without shutting down the whole system. But we will be resuming as soon as possible. Thank you so much, and again we apologize for this.”
Ramsey Sprague: “I really apologize that TransCanada is a terrible actor stealing land from my friends in order to facilitate a toxic tar sands pipeline that is full of holes!”
Sprague was finally escorted out of the conference and arrested. His action is part of a massive grassroots movement against the Keystone XL pipeline, which opponents say will devastate the environment and imperil the health of communities in its path. President Obama has delayed a decision on the project until the spring, after initially putting it off until after the November election.