Daryl Hannah got arrested yesterday while blocking TransCanada’s construction of its Gulf Coast tar-sands pipeline. But the more interesting story is that Eleanor Fairchild was arrested, too.

Tar Sands Blockade
Eleanor Fairchild, a 78-year-old grandmother and landowner.

Who’s Eleanor Fairchild? No one you’ve heard of. The important part isn’t who she is, it’s why she was arrested and where she was when it happened. Fairchild was arrested for trespassing. And when it happened, she was standing on her own property.

From CBS News:

Hannah and landowner Eleanor Fairchild were standing in front of heavy equipment in an attempt to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Fairchild’s farm in Winnsboro, a town about 100 miles east of Dallas. They were arrested for criminal trespassing and taken to the Wood County Jail, Bassis said. Hannah also faces a charge of resisting arrest, according to jail records.

Let’s repeat that: Eleanor Fairchild, 78, was arrested for standing on her own property.

The pipeline being built is the last stretch of a connection from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. After the government signed off on construction, TransCanada moved quickly to secure right-of-way. In the process, it has faced strong resistance from landowners. Even some who signed lease deals with TransCanada believe the company  misrepresented its intent. And when landowners wouldn’t sign deals, TransCanada successfully persuaded Texas to seize private land for the project.

That’s exactly what happened to Fairchild. According to TarSandsBlockade.org, Fairchild “never signed a contract with the Canadian pipeline company, who, in turn, proceeded to expropriate her ranch through Texas’ lax eminent domain legal proceedings.” In the eyes of the state of Texas, the land, condemned, isn’t Fairchild’s. Fairchild seems justifiably inclined to disagree.

Oh, and here’s what TransCanada had to say about the arrest.

“It is unfortunate Ms. Hannah and other out-of-state activists have chosen to break the law by illegally trespassing on private property,” David Dodson, a spokesman for TransCanada, said in an email. He also said protesters were “putting their own safety and the safety of others at risk.”

Yeah, those lousy out-of-state activists. It’s always those external agitators, isn’t it? A Texan would never object.