When a small group of people began protesting construction of the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline — which will carry dangerous  Canadian  tar sand bitumen from Cushing, Okla., to Houston and Port Arthur — they were laughed at in some quarters. When a handful of them climbed into tree stands in the direct line of the pipeline route in Winnsboro in East Texas, none other than Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson vilified them as “the environmental lunatic fringe.”

From TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, to the local police who were ordered to remove the demonstrators, there were plenty of people who figured the protesters were low-hanging fruit — easily picked.

That has not turned out to be the case. Nov. 21 marks the 59th day those sitters have been up in the trees, and while TransCanada’s contractors have rerouted the line around them, the demonstrators are still having an impact.

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