A great-grandmother from Winnsboro and a movie star are making the media rounds after their arrest while protesting a pipeline coming through East Texas.
Ms. Hannah was released after posting $2,500 bond. Mrs. Fairchild was released on a personal recognizance bond.
In a Friday phone interview, Mrs. Fairchild said she stood in front of the equipment to make a statement and put a spotlight on her environmental concerns about “tar sands” crude that will flow in the pipeline and “pushy, bullying” tactics used by the Canadian pipeline company to take her land by eminent domain.
“I don’t think there is an even playing field for the landowners and the pipeline company,” she said. “Most people can’t fight these big companies so they take what they want.”
Mrs. Fairchild said her husband worked as an oil geologist for 50 years and that she knows a bit about crude oil but opposes the pipeline. She said she never signed a land agreement with the company and has fought the project alongside friends and neighbors from the start.
It was Mrs. Fairchild’s second arrest. She also participated in a protest in Washington, D.C,. against the pipeline project.
The 435-mile Gulf Coast Project would run through eastern Wood and Smith counties, northeast and southeast corners of Cherokee County and western Nacogdoches County.
The pipeline will lie just east of Winnsboro, Hawkins, Winona, New Chapel Hill, Arp, New Summerfield, Reklaw and Wells.
TransCanada spokesman Jim Prescott issued a statement via email.
Paul Bassis, Ms. Hannah’s manager, said Ms. Hannah has a long history of environmental activism. She stands up for what she believes in, he said. Ms. Hannah was meeting with Mrs. Fairchild when TransCanada equipment was found operating on the landowner’s 90 acres.
“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.”
Ms. Hannah was arrested at a pipeline protest outside The White House in August.
Given the opportunity to go home and avoid arrest by Wood County deputies, Mrs. Fairchild said she did not want to abandon her friend, Ms. Hannah. Her arrest has garnered national attention. During the interview Mrs. Fairchild and Ms. Hannah were preparing for interviews on CNN and Fox News.
“I am not a pro at protesting, but I think it makes more of a statement to be arrested,” she said. “They need to know landowners like me are being trampled.”