Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson confirmed seven protesters were arrested at the Pumpco/TransPecos Pipeline site in near Alpine on the morning of February 19. Dodson said three protesters were charged with felonies and four were arrested for misdemeanors. All the protestors were from outside the Big Bend region, according to Dodson.
The following is a press release issued by Vanessa Ramos on behalf of the Two Rivers Camp, a group opposed to the TransPecos Pipeline and comprised of members of the Society of Native Nations and the Big Bend Defense Coalition.
Water Protectors Shut Down Pumpco Loading Yard in Alpine
Construction of TransPecos Pipeline Delayed For Several Hours
ALPINE, TX — Five Texas Water Protectors [Sheriff Ronny Dodson confirmed seven] were arrested for blockading three entrances of a Pumpco loading yard which supplies construction materials for Energy Transfer Partners’ Trans-Pecos Pipeline. A freelance press videographer was also arrested as approximately 30 people held banners and prayed alongside a Native American dance group. Pipeline workers were unable to enter the loading yard, which shut down all worksites for about 2.5 hours. Water protectors were booked into Brewster County jail and charged with various misdemeanors and felonies.
Energy Transfer Partners, led by pipeline billionaire and Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioner Kelcy Warren, is the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota and the Comanche Trail Pipeline in West Texas. The Two Rivers Camp is a key site for TPPL resistance in the greater Big Bend region. The encampment was founded in December by Society of Native Nations and Big Bend Defense Coalition.
Water Protectors have expressed multiple concerns about the construction of the TransPecos Pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners has repeatedly ignored community concerns over a lack of consultation, the ongoing destruction of Native American Sacred Sites, and the taking of private ranch land by eminent domain without compensation.
Some of the arrested water protectors issued the following statements before being taken to jail:
“I am chained here to keep the gates closed, to protect clean water, to stop the pipeline because all water goes through the water cycle and it doesn’t matter if it goes through the Rio Grande or back at home. It is all connected. It doesn’t matter if we sweat it out in the summer time or it rains down on us in the winter, water is life.”
– Drew de los Santos
“We have very few pristine spaces left in Texas. This is god’s land and we are not about to let them take it. A lot of people say that our efforts are in vain. But since we started coming out here and we started resisting, people all over the country, and all over the world have taken notice. We are here to tell ETP and Kelcy Warren that Texas is god’s land and we are going to protect it with everything we can.”
– Rockie Gonzalez
“Water should be without borders, people should be without borders, we shouldn’t be valuing property and oil over people. You can’t drink oil. We are just destroying the environment and ignoring indigenous sovereignty.”
– August Guang