Protectors: We Want Parks, Not Pipelines (VIDEO)

Austin-based indigenous-rights activist Tane Ward addresses a group of water protectors outside the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting. Image: Greg Harman

Calls for ETP CEO Kelcy Warren to resign Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission seat fill chamber.

The “pipeline cowboy,” as Bloomberg News describes Energy Transfer Partners’ CEO Kelcy Warren, should be looking for other work, said more than 50 Texas residents who descended upon a Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWD) meeting on Thursday January 26. The southern water protectors showed up to take the billionaire, appointed to the commission in 2015 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott after a string of donations, to task—even though he wasn’t there.

“We’ve got no time for your pipelines!” they chanted, undeterred by Warren’s absence. Confronted by more than 100 people at previous commission meeting back in November, he did not attend this one.

Trump may be planning a tidal surge of new oil and gas projects—kickstarting the rejected Keystone XL and reviving the Dakota Access—and revived coal-based economy, but these Texas water protectors have a plan too. Resist, resist, resist.

Already at least five people based at the Two Rivers Camp in Presidio County, Texas, have been arrested for locking down on construction equipment at points along the Trans-Pecos pipeline. The ETP-owned pipeline is intended to transport fracked gas 148 miles from outside Fort Stockton, Texas, to tunnel beneath the Rio Grande where it is expected to tie into a rapidly expanding network of natural gas infrastructure in Northern Mexico.

Though it looked as if the movement could chalk up another arrest to its cause at this week’s meeting, Steve Lightfoot, spokesperson for TPWD, said no charges were filed against the speaker who was physically wrestled out of the meeting chambers by several suited security for failing to remove a bandana from his face (SEE VIDEO).

“I believe he was was simply taken aside and given a chance to cool down,” Lightfoot said. It is not know if the speaker, who identified himself as Ron King, will file charges against the department or its officers.

Read the full story at Indian Country Media Network.

“One of the concerns we have is to make sure there is some consultation with the native people of that area, now that we have an interpretive center out there,” Juan Mancias, tribal chair for the Carrizo/Comecrudo nation, speaking of the need to protect sacred springs from the region’s fracking activity.

“Basically, we are tired of being ignored. Of being called extinct.”