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Anti-Keystone XL pipeline activists storm TransCanada headquarters

Environmental activists are protesting at the headquarters of TransCanada in Houston, Texas against the Keystone XL pipeline, with some briefly storming the lobby of the corporation’s office there.

“Right now 100+ of our friends have taken over TransCanada’s Keystone XL headquarters in Houston, Texas,” says the anti-Keystone activist group Tar Sands Blockade on its website.

The group is also calling on volunteers to bombard the energy company with phone calls against the pipeline, which will bring tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas.

“You can help shut down work in TransCanada’s offices by flooding the phone lines all today to tell them we don’t want their dirty pipeline in anyone’s backyard,” the site adds.

According to the activist group, two protesters have already been arrested. The first person was arrested for “impeding an investigation.”

“Earlier today, about 80 protestors briefly blocked public access to the Houston office tower that houses TransCanada’s U.S. Keystone XL and Gulf Coast Project teams,” Transcanada spokesperson Shawn Howard said in an email.

“Small protests also took place at a key contractor’s headquarters in Wisconsin and at two spots on the Gulf Coast Project right of way in East Texas,” he added. “Work activities were not disrupted at any location.”

FuelFix reports that activists stormed the lobby on Monday morning, and now dozens of police officers — including officers mounted on horses — are patrolling the area.

Several protesters are reportedly marching around the block with a paper mache dragon.

“A pipeline dragon has arrived at TransCanada’s offices!” according to the group’s website.

On its website, the group lists two TransCanada phone numbers to call and provides visitors with a scripted statement to read if the company answers.

The group is also distributing fliers to passersby, saying “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE TAR SANDS” and detailing their arguments against the pipeline’s construction in Texas, according to FuelFix.

“Hi, my name is NAME, from CITY or STATE, with whom am I speaking? Thanks — I’m calling because I’m fed up with TransCanada’s abuse of landowners, community members and the planet. I stand with the Tar Sands Blockade, and we won’t stop until you do,” says the website.

The group also said that “solidarity actions” are planned across the country today and tomorrow.

“TransCanada has the legal authority to construct the Gulf Coast Project, and this is another example of the protestors’ attempt to stop a project that is currently providing thousands of jobs to American workers,” Howard concluded. “This project is also a key component of the ‘all of the above’ strategy to enhance American energy security – especially refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.”

UPDATE: At 1:20 PM, student activists locked themselves inside the TransCanada office building, and issued a statement on their reasons for taking action.

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