TransCanada has filed a lawsuit in Atoka County seeking an injunction and restraining order that keeps protesters from disrupting its pipeline construction sites in Oklahoma.
The company filed the lawsuit against Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance to keep protesters from interfering with construction. Several protesters have already been arrested after chaining themselves to construction equipment.
TransCanada is building a 485-mile oil pipeline between Cushing and the Gulf Coast.
An Atoka County judge barred three people from interfering with construction but did not rule on others named in the lawsuit.
According to their web site, the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance said the lawsuit would criminalize dissent.
This lawsuit is a part of a broader corporate campaign of criminalizing dissent and delegitimizing opposition to this dangerous project, similar to Exxon's deliberate exclusion of press which amounted to a media blackout at the site of the Pegasus pipeline rupture, which released 5,000 barrels of diluted bitumen into residential Mayflower, Arkansas.
TransCanada project spokesman Jim Prescott says the restraining order would protect the company's ability to build the pipeline and keep workers safe.
A court hearing on the case is set for May 22, 2013 at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance says Bob Waldrop, 60, of Seminole County chained himself to a piece of pipeline construction equipment in rural Hughes County on Monday. He was arrested and taken to jail in Holdenville after firefighters cut the chains.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.