New York Times Journalists Threatened With Arrest While Reporting on Keystone XL Opposition
Actress Daryl Hannah almost had company on the police blotter, as two journalists from The New York Times were threatened with arrest on Wednesday while interviewing protesters blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas.
New York Times reporter Dan Frosch and freelance photographer Brandon Thibodeaux were told they risked arrest for trespassing on October 10 as they tried to speak to demonstrators who were blockading the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas.
“We had a reporter and photographer detained yesterday briefly for what they were told was trespassing,” spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Indian Country Today Media Network. “When they identified themselves as media they were made aware that they risked arrest and were told to leave.”
Although the two had the landowner’s permission to be on the property and did not believe they were trespassing, local police and a TransCanada security guard told them they were.
“They were told they risked being arrested, which they didn’t want to happen, so they complied and moved on,” Murphy said. Hannah was arrested on October 4 as she stood beside 78-year-old landowner Eleanor Fairchild before an excavator that was clearing land for the pipeline’s path. Fairchild’s land had been taken by eminent domain.
There is much opposition to the $7 billion, 1,700-mile-long pipeline project, which would comprise the last leg of the pipeline bringing bituminous crude down from the Alberta oil sands in Canada. The pipeline is a factor in the 2012 Presidential election, pitting purported jobs and economic benefit against environmental concerns and the potential desecration of traditional tribal territories.
The journalists were detained elsewhere along the route as they tried to interview protestors who have been living 40 to 80 feet above ground in trees along the path of the pipeline in northeastern Texas, reported Fuelfix.com, the Houston Chronicle’s energy blog. In a statement, TransCanada told Fuelfix that the two journalists were not legally allowed to be on the property, along the construction’s right-of-way.
“The right-of-way is an active construction site, and only authorized personnel are able to go on this area,” the company said in the statement, as quoted by Fuelfix.
TransCanada won the right in court on September 28 to take land by eminent domain from property owners who were contesting the pipeline’s running across their land, Bloomberg reported.
Below, video of the two-person protest that got Hannah arrested.