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November 09, 2007

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Man and wife standing on a bluff, looking at camera
Mary and Willie Corduff near the proposed pipeline

Willie's Fight

Produced by
Denise Schreiner

Willie's Fight

Willie Corduff is a farmer who lives near the town of Rossport, County Mayo in northwest Ireland. In 2000, Willie learned that Shell Oil planned to build a high-pressure gas pipeline that would run across his land. Willie said no to Shell's plans. But both Shell and the Irish government told him he had no choice in the matter.

Rather than consent, Willie and four neighbors went to jail. Before long, crowds were in the streets demanding the release of the "Rossport 5," and the project was suspended. This year, Willie was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize - the world's largest prize honoring grassroots environmentalists.

Shell Oil says it will find another pipeline route and it continues to build a refinery in Ireland.

Willie and his wife Mary join Dick Gordon to tell the story of how he went from rural farmer to environmental hero.

Horse And Buggy

Sarah Fister Gale wrote to The Story to tell us about her dad. "He grew up in Millville, Minnesota, population less than 300, in the 30s and 40s. Back then they still had outhouses, and his father, the postman, drove a horse and sleigh in the winter. My dad loves to tell stories about picking wildflowers in the spring on the bluff behind his town, or catching frogs in the river that snakes through the town. My favorite story, however, is the day he went to a friend’s farm after school. He was probably nine years old and the Swanson boys (I may have the names wrong) thought it would be fun to steal their dad’s horse and buggy and take it for a joy ride."

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