“They’ve arrested Daryl Hannah and a rural Texas great-grandmother,” Paul Bassis, Hannah’s manager, said.
Ms. Hannah and landowner Eleanor Fairchild were standing in front of heavy equipment in an attempt to halt construction of the pipeline on Mrs. Fairchild’s farm near Winnsboro. They were arrested for criminal trespassing and taken to the Wood County Jail, Bassis said.
Ms. Hannah has long opposed TransCanada’s construction of the $7 billion pipeline, which is designed to transport heavy tar-sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas’ Gulf Coast refineries.
The 435-mile Gulf Coast Project will run through eastern Wood and Smith counties, northeast and southeast corners of Cherokee County and western Nacogdoches County.
Its path lies just east of Winnsboro, Hawkins, Winona, New Chapel Hill, Arp, New Summerfield, Reklaw and Wells.
Susan Scott, of Winnsboro, said she saw the protest and that she feared for Ms. Hannah’s life.
Ms. Scott said a machine clearing trees rolled within two or three feet of the actress and began banging its bucket on the ground to intimidate her.
“I was scared for her,” she said. “It scared … me, and I was just standing on the sideline.”
TransCanada crews cleared a swath through Ms. Scott’s 60-acre farm last week. She said the action by the company has been devastating for friends such as Mrs. Fairchild and neighbors.
She opposed the pipeline because she did not want forestland on her property cleared and was concerned the pipeline could pose a future risk to the water table.
“For (Mrs. Fairchild) to stand up there and tell them this is her land … it’s just devastating,” she said. “Nobody is listening.”
Ms. Scott said local, state and federal government officials let landowners down and are letting a foreign company trample her Constitutional rights.
Ms. Hannah — who has starred in dozens of movies, including “Kill Bill” and “Splash” — also was arrested in August 2011 while protesting the pipeline in Washington. She was one of several hundred prominent scientists and activists arrested that month.
They argue the pipeline would be unsafe because it would be carrying heavy, acidic crude oil that could more easily corrode a metal pipe, which would lead to a spill. They also say refining the oil would further contaminate the air in a region that has long struggled with pollution.
TransCanada says its pipeline would be the safest ever built, and that the crude is no dirtier than oil currently arriving from Venezuela or parts of California.
The issue became politically charged when congressional Republicans gave President Barack Obama 60 days to decide whether TransCanada should be granted the necessary permit for the pipeline to cross an international border before snaking its way 1,700 miles south to the Texas coast.
Obama, saying his administration did not have enough time to study the potential environmental impacts, denied the permit in January.
However, he encouraged TransCanada to reroute the northern portion of the pipeline to avoid an environmentally sensitive area of Nebraska. He also promised to expedite permitting of a southern portion of the pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf Coast to relieve a bottleneck at the Cushing refinery.
TransCanada began construction of that portion of the pipeline this summer after receiving the necessary permits. Some Texas landowners, joined by activists from outside the state, have tried through various protests to stop or slow down construction.
“When people engage in civil disobedience it’s a last resort,” Bassis said. “They do it after local, state and federal agencies fail, after the courts fail, after everything else has failed. When the bulldozers and excavators are coming on your land it’s the last resort.”