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Why Susan Scott Buried TransCanada's Money on Her Family Farm

So far the jar of "tainted" TransCanada bills she buried in the rich earth of her 60-acre farm has yielded only heavy machinery and a troop of activists from the Tar Sands Blockade.

Photo Credit: Will Wysong / Flickr


Susan Scott worked for years and saved every penny she earned to buy her dream farm in Winnsboro, Texas. Well, it was her dream farm, but that was before the Keystone XL pipeline was slated for construction right over top of it.

She first came to the property when she was 27 years old, and fell in love with the place. When she dies, she says she wants to be buried on her property next her horse.


Scott has been fighting to protect her farm, her cabin and her trees since before she ever heard of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Having already beaten back a previous oil pipeline and a power line, she was stunned when she got wind of TransCanada's plans for her property.


"I'm going like, 'What now?'" Scott told Truthout.


Scott says she was intimidated into signing a contractual agreement with TransCanada for her land. "I said, 'I ain't signing that,' and [a TransCanada representative] said to me, 'Let me tell you why you ought to, because they are going file charges, take you to court and they're going to sue you. You're going to have to pay lawyer fees, you're going to have to pay court costs,' and God only knows what else they're going to come up with, and I'm going like, 'I am a farmer. I don't have that kind of money. I'm a farmer for heaven's sakes!"


"And then I resigned myself and signed it, and then I buried [TransCanada's compensation money] somewhere up here on this 60 acres out in a jar somewhere, and it may be deteriorated, and it may not be deteriorated - who knows? It's tainted money, ain't never no good."


She could barely watch as Alejandro De la Torre was being extracted by the local police from a "sleeping dragon" lockdown, in which he had locked himself to a concrete-filled capsule buried on her property.


De la Torre locked down as part of the ongoing Tar Sands Blockade. He was extracted at around 4 p.m. on Monday, October 1, as workers moved in quickly to bulldoze the rest of what he was trying to save.


"People in Port Arthur and my home in Houston are the ones who will be bearing the brunt of the toxic emissions from the tar sands refineries and they're not going to see any of the economic benefits," De la Torre  said in an interview before his arrest. "This is just another example of how people of color and low-income folks are placed in 'sacrifice zones' for our current economic system."


Police covered De la Torre with a tarp to hide his extraction  from local news camerasand from observers nearby. Police also  confiscated the cameras of blockaders at the scene who were trying to protect De la Torre for as long as possible.


De la Torre could be facing possible felony charges due to Texas'  criminal instruments law. According to the law, a "'criminal instrument' means anything - the possession, manufacture or sale of which is not otherwise an offense - that is specially designed, made, or adapted for use in the commission of an offense."


This same law was used against Occupy activists in Austin last December after police infiltrators gave protesters locking devices that they used to block an entrance to the port of Houston.


Scott's property has been deemed by TransCanada to be a "low consequence area," meaning that the company intends to use thinner pipeline steel across her land. Because tar sands does not readily flow through pipe, it has to be diluted with undisclosed chemicals and exposed to high temperatures and pressures to flow through what will be the nearly 1700-mile Keystone XL pipeline.

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