A Greely, Colo., resident locked herself to excavation equipment this morning on the easement of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners’ Trans-Pecos Pipeline in Presidio County, Texas.
According to a release from organizers at the Two Rivers Camp, Anna Kruger delayed construction operations on the natural-gas line for about three hours and had to be cut from the machinery with saws and angle grinders. Two Rivers is a pipeline resistance camp operated by the pan-indigenous Society of Native Nations and regional activists from the Big Bend Defense Coalition.
Kruger was booked into Presidio County Jail on a felony charge of criminal mischief.
“I have been involved in the fight for clean water, land protection, and helping mother earth heal from all the recent destruction she has experienced at the hands of oil companies for several months now,” Kruger said in the prepared release.
Before coming to Far West Texas to stand against ETP, she said she was “brutalized” by the militarized police forces at Standing Rock in North Dakota for protesting the same company’s plan to bury an oil pipeline, the Dakota Access, beneath the Standing Rock Sioux’s primary source of drinking water.
“Since then, the passion and protectiveness for our earth that I felt there has kindled in my heart and brought me to Two Rivers Camp,” she states. “I hope someday we can see that desecrating the land and brutalizing unarmed people—women, elders, men—isn’t worth supporting an oligarchy.”
Pipeline opponents have been regularly taking direct-action measures against the pipeline for roughly four months and area residents have fought it in court and through the administration process for years. Two Rivers took a PR hit earlier this month when its director of security was arrested as a fugitive from California. Pedro Rabago Gutierrez, who had been living under the name “Pete Hefflin,” was revealed to have a long criminal history, including, most recently, a conviction in 1998 for having sex with a minor. Gutierrez is 56.
Sierra Club’s Vanessa Ramos told the Houston Chronicle that the surprise arrest of Gutierrez would not affect the continuing work against ETP in West Texas.
“This is much bigger than one person,” she said.
In fact, camp leaders today said they plan to continue taking direct actions against the TPPL, expected to be completed in a matter of weeks. Tunneling operations beneath the Rio Grande have been delayed, but ultimately the TPPL is expected to tie into expanding natural-gas infrastructure in northern Mexico, which has been dramatically expanding its consumption of U.S. fracked gas in recent years.
Actions against oil and gas extraction have escalated in West Texas and beyond over the last six months, in part inspired by the determination of self-described water protectors fighting the construction of a fracked-oil pipeline at Standing Rock, a Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Representatives from hundreds of tribes have made the trip to Standing Rock over the last year in a call for indigenous sovereignty.
While the Obama Administration had put that project’s course in question during its final weeks, President Trump has made its completion, including the controversial drilling beneath Lake Oahe and the Missouri River, a priority.