FRANKLIN COUNTY, TX (KLTV)
Five people were arrested Wednesday after locking themselves to construction equipment.
The arrests were made at a construction site of the Keystone XL Pipeline, near Highway 37, outside of Winnsboro.
Protest organizers say they want to bring the pipeline project to a halt.
Handcuffed to heavy pipeline equipment, three protesters reportedly stayed there until they were arrested Wednesday morning. Two other protesters standing nearby were also arrested. All five were charged with criminal trespassing.
"Well, there were three different protesters that had chained themselves to some of the heavy equipment that is used to destroy Texas land," said Ron Seifert, protest organizer. "These are folks that simply understand that at this point it's less of a risk to take action than to do nothing at all. This pipeline is an eminent threat and we have to literally stop it."
To avoid more charges of criminal trespassing, organizers moved the protest to Jerry Hightower's property, where pipeline will eventually run through.
All day, protesters held signs, telling TransCanada to 'go away.' Hightower says he believes the pipeline could potentially hurt his family's farm.
"The vines that you see before you have been hand pruned for over a decade since his retirement. He can plant new vines," said Hightower. "He cannot plant within 50 feet of where the pipeline is running, so he will have to alter the path of his planting."
Despite the arrests, protesters stood there for hours, hoping their message will change the plans of TransCanada. TransCanada says their project will be completed.
TransCanada Pipeline also released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
"TransCanda's immediate concern is not for the project, which will be completed, but for the safety and welfare of thousands of American workers who are building this $2.3 billion project. If the protestors had their way, thousands of Americans would be thrown out of work.
America needs jobs, and it needs energy security. The Gulf Coast Project is important on both fronts.
TransCanada appreciates the professionalism and restraint shown by sheriff's deputies in Franklin County.