Everyone who meets Eleanor Fairchild will tell you that she doesn’t seem like she’s a day over 50. She turned 78 last month. A year ago on her 77th birthday she was arrested along with 1,252 other people during the peaceful sit-ins in front of the White House to stop Keystone XL. She has done everything she can to prevent the destruction of her land by TransCanada, dreading the day when they would start plowing through her 300 acre farm outside Winnsboro, Texas.
That day came this last Saturday when, unannounced, TransCanada arrived on her land with heavy machinery and began tearing up the ground and clear-cutting every tree in their path. She heard the roar of the machinery from inside her home and rushed toward the machines to stop them, but at that point there was nothing she could do but watch them destroy her beloved farm.
Eleanor knows what’s at stake with the Keystone XL. When she first heard the words “Keystone XL” she started researching and was horrified to learn the contents of the toxic sludge they wanted to pump through the pipes. Her land is home to lush wetland ecosystems and multiple natural, fresh water springs that flow with over 400 gallons of fresh water every minute. Every last drop of it stands to be poisoned by this toxic pipeline.
Knowing the risks to her land and her safety she refused to sell any of it to this multi-national corporation and never signed a single contract. So they took it from her. Unable to acquire her land through the coercive tactics TransCanada had used on countless other landowners they expropriated it through eminent domain.
“I hate to see my land torn up, but I realize at this point that there’s nothing I can do,” she said. “I’m concerned about everyone’s land because a lot of people are being hurt a lot more than I am, and it just breaks my heart.”
In the end it’s going to take a lot more than TransCanada’s bulldozers to deter a brilliant, tough spirit like Eleanor’s, and in the meantime she’ll be waiting in her home and praying for them to go away.
This is why we blockade. We’re here to stand with landowners like Eleanor who feel they don’t have any options left to defend their homes.
Join us at our upcoming Direct Action Training October 12-14th and large public event on October 15th to take a stand.