The Norman Transcript


March 25, 2013

Event raises awareness about effect of pipeline projects



One attorney discussed the consequences people might face by taking direct action through non-violent civil disobedience. The attorney said in the case of Elisabeth Leja, 74, of Norman, who chained herself to equipment used to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline in Okfuskee County, she is facing a misdemeanor criminal charge for trespassing. The consequences were 10 days in county jail and a $100 fine.

Others who were arrested later that month at a different site in Oklahoma faced no jail time and had a $250 fine.

“They’re putting their bodies on the line,” the attorney said. “They are not the first and they will not be the last.”

Because of their actions, Leja was able to stop construction for an entire day and and so did the other group of people, he said.

“No significant change ever occurs without taking direct action,” he said. “No significant change really ever happens until a large number of people come together.”

The attorney encouraged people to vote with their feet to make a change and told the crowd there are people and organizations that will support their direct action.

“Consider the future — your child, your grandchild,” he said. “It takes this kind of direct action, and I encourage you to do so.”

Another attorney, David Griggs, talked about SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) suits. Griggs told the crowd about how companies use these lawsuits to intimidate people to make them stop protesting.

The attorney said anti-SLAPP bills in Texas and 27 other states help defendants counter the suit against them. Griggs said some statutes in Oklahoma help with this, but the state doesn’t have an official SLAPP law. He encouraged people to talk to state legislatures and ask them to consider passing the law.

The event was hosted by a group called Truthforce and OMNI.

For more information, visit

truthforce or



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