Pipeline protestor request bond reduction hearing

EAST TEXAS (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Attorneys representing Isabel Brooks, a 20-year-old protestor who was arrested Dec. 3 for her participation in an action to delay construction on the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project, have requested a bond reduction hearing in Judge Thomas Dunn's court.

Three protestors, 25-year-old Glen Collins, 21-year-old Matt Almonte and Miss. Brooks are in Smith County jail on $65,000 bond for three misdemeanor charges. The bond reduction hearing was requested last Thursday. No hearing has been set.
On Dec. 3, the activists set canisters of concrete weighing several hundred pounds inside the pipe and were grasping onto them as deputies extracted them.

Their bonds include $15,000 for criminal trespass, $25,000 for resisting arrest and $25,000 for illegal dumping, more than 500 pounds but less than 1,000 pounds.

Criminal trespass is a Class B misdemeanor which carries up to a $2,000 and 180 days in jail. The other two charges are Class A misdemeanors and carry up to $4,000 and a year in jail.

Tar Sands Blockade, the group organizing protests along the route, called the bonds "outrageous" on its Facebook page.

Ron Seifert, Tar Sands Blockade spokesman, said the severe bonds mean the three protestors are being punished punitively and without trial.

"They're being punished for politics," he said. "The judge supports the pipeline and is making an example of them as a scare tactic against the rest of us."

County commissioners and County Judge Joel Baker, who set the bond amounts, unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Canadian pipeline project in September 2011.

Baker would not comment about the bonds other than saying they were "appropriate under the circumstances."

The 485-mile pipeline's route lies just east of Winnsboro, Hawkins, Winona, New Chapel Hill, Arp, New Summerfield, Reklaw and Wells. Upon completion it would connect a major oil hub in Cushing, Okla. with refineries along the Texas coast.


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