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

Tar Sands Action.(Photo: Will Wysong / Flickr)The way this Texas farmer sees it, you can’t plant money and grow food. 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.

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 to 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 ” >from local news cameras and from observers nearby. Police also ” >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 ” >occupy a tree village in Winnsboro, Texas along the path of the Keystone XL pipeline.

As the blockade enters its eleventh day, workers continue to operate tree-clearing machines dangerously close to the activists protecting the land of farmers and families in East Texas.

Workers with Michel’s, a corporation contracted out by TransCanada to build the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline across Texas and Oklahoma, are cutting perilously close to the support lines of activists sitting on top of a 40-foot-tall wall made of timber scaffolding designed to delay, and possibly block construction on the pipeline before it reaches more blockaders in tree platforms just behind the scaffolding.

Support lines are designed to catch the blockaders if they should fall – or get knocked off – their platforms. Blockaders staged on the timber wall are 40-feet in the air while blockaders in the tree village are more than 80-feet in the air.

According to activists ” >called a “monopod” in the nearly-cleared path in response to TransCanada’s move to go around their blockade. Gorry occupied the top of that structure, successfully halting construction for nearly two days in a row. She was arrested early Thursday, October 4.

“I think it is an awesome thing that all of the young people are now seeing that this earth needs saving from the idiots that think you can breathe money, and [you can] plant seeds and money is going to grow food,” Scott says. “This is fresh air, this is good dirt.”

Full disclosure: Candice Bernd has organized with the Tar Sands Blockade.