Keystone protesters settle TransCanada SLAPP suit, but opposition against Texas pipeline continues
- Year: 2013
- Length: 6:26 minutes (5.88 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
In Texas, a protester with the Tarsands Blockade was released from police custody today after being arrested Thursday for disrupting a conference where a representative from TransCanada was scheduled to speak on pipeline safety. A video posted by activists shows Ramsey Sprague, a resident from Fort Worth, Texas, after he chained himself to a speaker by the side of the stage. Sprague is one of the activists named in a lawsuit brought by TransCanada that sought to restrict protests on its property and land the company claims for the project. The suit, called a Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, or SLAPP suit, alleged that protesters cost TransCanada millions of dollars. The protesters settled the suit last week. For more, we’re joined by Ramsey Sprague from Houston, Texas.
TransCanada responded to FSRN’s request for comment after airtime. The company confirmed that the settlement includes an agreement that the named groups and individuals will stop: “Interfering with the use and enjoyment” of TransCanada property or “any equipment, construction materials or facilities” belonging to TransCanada. In response to FSRN’s questions about the effect of the SLAPP suit on the individuals’ right to protest, it responded with the following written statement:
“TransCanada strongly believes in the lawful freedom of expression. Trespassing, threatening to assault people, creating unsafe conditions on a work site, interfering with someone’s property rights and ignoring court orders is not freedom of expression, it’s breaking the law. Each time one of these organizations or individuals trespassed on our right-of-way, the matter was turned over to local police. If police believed that the law was broken, people were given repeated warnings to leave. Many people did leave, but others choose to ignore these warnings. They made the choice to break the law – which has nothing to do with freely expressing their views about their particular issues or concerns.”