Keystone XL resisters headed to trial!

The Southern Leg of the Keystone XL is in the ground, but Elisabeth Leja and Alec Johnson are still fighting! Elisabeth Leja and Alec Johnson both took direct action against the southern section of the Keystone XL pipeline last year with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance in Oklahoma. Elisabeth is a 75-year-old, retired math teacher from Norman, Oklahoma. Elisabeth was the first person to risk arrest opposing KXL in Oklahoma when she locked herself to construction equipment with a bike lock in the whee hours of Feb. 4th, 2013. Alec Johnson is a climate justice organizer based in Nacogdoches, TX who took action last year on Earth Day in Atoka County, Oklahoma.


When Elisabeth isn’t busy shutting down industrial construction sites, she spends time playing with her companion dogs, Omni and Mega, in the beautiful woods near her home.  Elisabeth is a retired math teacher. Citing exponential theory to illustrate the rapid rise of carbon emissions from tar sands exploitation, Elisabeth explains that the Keystone XL just doesn’t add up. “I have nothing to lose personally if the pipeline is completed and used incessantly by Trans Canada. If there were to be a spill, I wouldn’t be directly affected. I live too far away. So why protest? Because I love the earth, our planet. I live on it, and we need to take care of it. Why sit back and let greed run the world?”  Determined to put the KXL and the whole tar sands industry on trial, Elisabeth has taken a No Compromise stance in her ongoing legal defense. Elisabeth is now scheduled for trial at 2pm on June 26th in Ofsukee County. She is facing a charge of trespass. She would love to have community support as she defends herself and individuals’ rights to raise their voices through nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.

Alec Johnson is also  refusing plea deals and going to trial in order to defend his actions. The prosecutor in Alec’s case is pursuing two charges of Obstructing an Officer, each of which carry a possible one year sentence in Atoka County Jail! Recently an Atoka County Judge overruled a pretrial motion to dismiss Alec’s charges. When asked about his upcoming jury trial, Alec had this to say:

alecThe KXL Pipeline is a clear threat to our children’s futures. Those promoting tar sands exploitation are engaged in a crime against humanity. My action sought to prevent the expansion of the tar sands industry. The fact that the Keystone XL is even being considered represents a stark failure by federal, state, and local government to protect the atmosphere that all life shares. I am NOT GUILTY by reason of necessity. I am defending a right to life that depends on a habitable atmosphere. I am protecting that right to life for future generations. I look forward to the opportunity to present the facts of global warming to a jury and to highlight the urgency and necessity that we all face in fighting global warming and the destructive tar sands industry.”

Alec has been scheduled to go to trial, possibly September or October, no definite date has been set. Stay tuned for updates!

We need your help packing the court room to show support for Elisabeth and Alec! Supporting resisters like Elisabeth and Alec through the court process is an essential part of building a nonviolent direct action movement in the Great Plains. Please let us know here if you’d like to support Elisabeth and Alec by attending their trial. Donations to help cover travel expenses, court costs, and fines are extremely appreciated. Thank you so much for your support!


Media Contact: [email protected] or (405) 283-6140

16 thoughts on “Keystone XL resisters headed to trial!

  1. “‘Horrible’ pipeline defects prompt new rules for Keystone XL construction.” Visit this web site to see how bad work and faulty construction materials used in the Keystone XL pipeline are endangering the land it passes through: “Bad welds, dents and damaged coatings discovered at the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline have led to safety regulators imposing two extra conditions on the implementation of the project’s northern segment.” How dare they prosecute people fighting for the welfare of the American people!

  2. Be Brave-Let The Judge and Jury Hear the why’s and wherefors and Include Much True Science and why you stand for it.. I hope there will be an Eco Lawyer with you and if you could request a member of The Union of Concerned Scientist there.. it would be of true value.. -Blessings be

  3. Good news today as one holder of tarsands, Total, announced they will not proceed with tarsands projects. Other companies part of the Total project include SU that W Buffet took large stake in so hope this begins the divestment and signal of stranded assets the world needs to be kept in the ground. Article is at Motley Fools.

  4. Elisabeth and Alec, thanks for your courage. Know you are not alone. I am doing all I can do to wake Missourians up to climate change and the danger it is to our future.

  5. Courageous people … ordinary people in extraordinary situations … kind thoughts …

  6. Earth FIRST, then inhabitants and needed resources. These folks did the job of legislators. Pay them don’t incarcerate them.

  7. DEar Alec and Elisabeth I am full heart with you! Thank you for your action!
    Blessings from France.

  8. Totally love what you both did to stop this pipeline. You are out there saving lives and preventing more devisation and pollution. I have nothing but total respect for you both!

    However I have no respect what so ever for any authority that choses to imprison those people that are on the front line saving lifes, this needs to change. Co-operations are not what local authorites need to be protecting.

    Everyone needs to stand up to any insanity that proposes to pollute our water, air and food. It is not only our lives that are affected by this, it is the lives of our children too and ALL wildlife. There are much cleaner and safer ways to live and have energy, Nikola Tesla found them!

  9. You guys are just amazing and so many of us around the whole world are watching this process and cheering you on massively. We know you are working from heart for the whole Earth and we share your love for this planet. We can’t be physically there with you but I assure you we are all with you every step of the way in heart and spirit. God bless you, we love you very much and send our gratitude and continued support to you. Peace.

  10. THANK YOU SO MUCH for protecting our planet! You are making the difference and we all stand with you!

  11. Though there is still much to be done as of this mornings paper Total Oil has pulled out of the tar sands …

  12. It is times like this I wish I were a lawyer…and/or rich so I could help heroes like Alec and Elisabeth. Alas, I am neither but I will try some other “tricks” to help them …and other heroes who put their lives on the line to save/protect the Earth.

  13. I can’t afford to help you, but thank you for taking a stand. I support you with my thoughts, and I’d be there if I could.

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