Just who are the eco-terrorists?
“They’re afraid of a lil’ old lady.”
Meet East Texas grandmother, landowner, and accused “eco-terrorist” Eleanor Fairchild. I was lucky enough to spend time on Eleanor’s farm, just outside of Winnsboro,Texas. Eleanor was arrested along with actress Daryl Hannah for standing up to TransCanada’s bulldozers in the wake of construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. Eleanor’s crime was trespassing on her own property.
Eleanor showed me the conditions of her bond which state that she may not enter the property seized by TransCanada, except “that she may cross the easement in order to access the property that lies to the east of the easement.” In other words, Eleanor can’t be on her own property unless it’s to access the other side of her property.
To protect their investment, TransCanada hires off-duty police officers to guard the perimeter of the pipeline 24/7. They’ve even gone so far as to file a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) suit against Fairchild naming her an “eco-terrorist” whose home served as headquarters for others like her.
Despite all the lengths that TransCanada has gone to in order to punish and silence her, Fairchild has no regrets:
“I don’t like doing this but I’m glad I’m doing it, that I stepped out because I think that this project is wrong. I’ve learned a lot that I would have never learned about our country. I wonder if some of these same things aren’t going on in other places? I wonder, really, how many rights we have? I think you have rights as long as nobody is listening to you. If people start listening to you, they’ll try to squelch you.”
With the promise of jobs, TransCanada, a private foreign-owned, for-profit corporation, moves into an area, condemns land from anyone who refuses to sign it over*, destroys old growth trees, wetlands, and proceeds to pollute fresh springs during pipeline construction. Here’s a corporation that hires armed mercenaries to patrol citizens and squash any type of opposition to this lethal pipeline.
I ask you, who are the eco-terrorists?
*Although landowners have limited use of the property on which the pipeline sits, under Texas law they are still required to pay taxes on the plot of land that TransCanada controls.