Actress Daryl Hannah arrested for physically blocking Keystone XL construction

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, October 5, 2012 9:40 EDT
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Actress Darly Hannah and 78-year-old land owner Eleanor Fairchild are arrested for trying to block TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. Photo: Flickr user Tar Sands Blockade, creative commons licensed.
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Actress Daryl Hannah, a longtime Texan and star of such films as “Kill Bill,” “Blade Runner” and “Splash,” was arrested Thursday night in the east Texas town of Winnsboro as she helped a neighbor physically block heavy construction equipment from continuing to build the trans-continental Keystone XL pipeline.

Hannah, 51, was arrested along with 78-year-old land owner Eleanor Fairchild, whose property is being ripped up to make way for the southern leg of TransCanada’s pipeline project. Both were charged with trespassing and resisting arrest before being released late Thursday night. Hannah has lived in the county for more than 20 years, so police released her after she posted a $4,500 bond, according to KLTV 7 in east Texas.

The protest is one of several going on in the Lone Star state, where activists with the group Tar Sands Action are occupying treetops to block further construction. The group said that Hannah’s arrest was not part of their action, but Tar Sands Action has closely followed Fairchild’s plight since 2010 (video embedded below). Photos of their arrests were published online by Hannah and made available to the media through Creative Commons licensing.

Activists say the pipeline will help tap one of the largest standing pools of trapped carbon on the planet, potentially triggering a key tipping point that causes climate change to accelerate. TransCanada, however, isn’t concerned about the climate impacts, saying that tar sands will help boost energy security and put people to work.

“It is unfortunate Ms. Hannah and other out of state activists have chosen to break the law by illegally trespassing on private property,” TransCanada said in a prepared statement. “It is also unfortunate that she and other professional activists have chosen to engage in illegal acts, putting their own safety and the safety of others at risk, along with trying to prevent thousands of Americans from providing for their families by helping to build the Gulf Coast Project and the energy security it will provide.”

Actress Daryl Hannah and land owner Eleanor Fairchild are arrested while attempting to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Courtesy photo.

It’s not the first time Hannah has faced arrest for her activism. She joined Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s top climate scientist, and hundreds of other activists in chaining herself to the White House perimeter fence during a protest against Keystone XL last August.

“Sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice your freedom for a greater freedom,” Hannah told NBC Washington at the time. “And we want to be free from the horrible death and destruction that fossil fuels cause, and have a clean energy future.”

President Barack Obama’s administration has “fast tracked” construction of the pipeline’s southern leg as part of Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy. The northern leg, which would be overseen by the State Department, was denied in January after Republicans in Congress set what the president called an “arbitrary” deadline for environmental studies to conclude. The administration, however, did offer to let TransCanada resubmit its application.

This video is from KLTV 7 News in east Texas, broadcast Thursday, October 5, 2012.

KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

This video was published to YouTube by Tar Sands Action on October 2, 2012.


Photos: Flickr user Tar Sands Blockade, creative commons licensed.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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