Top NASA Scientist and Actress Daryl Hannah Arrested at White House Oil Protest

Top NASA climate scientist James Hansen and actress Daryl Hannah were among a group of activists arrested at a White House oil protest on Tuesday. Hansen, who has been arrested three times at protest events, is the director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a taxpayer-funded position.

At the protest rally on Monday, Hansen begged for President Barack Obama to act “for the sake of your children and grandchildren” and block a controversial planned Keystone oil pipeline extension from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in the U.S. More than 100 people were arrested at the protest on Monday. It was the 10th day of a two-week sit-in to stop the pipeline, which environmentalists argue could leave 20 million people drinking contaminated water if it should spring a leak.

A representative for the Goddard Institute for Space Studies told that Hansen was on personal leave during the protest and “the agency doesn’t comment on personnel matters other than to say that Hansen was on his own personal time and wasn’t acting in official capacity as a NASA employee.”

Actress Daryl Hannah was also arrested during the protest on Monday. This makes the third time she has been arrested at environmental protest events as well.

“I do believe we are in a time of crisis for so many things. And in times of crisis, you have to get engaged in the process. You have to walk your talk. Being arrested is something you never hope for. You don’t want to get arrested. But you know it’s a risk you take,” Hannah told People after she was released from police custody.

“Civil disobedience is a long-heralded American tradition,” Hannah said. “The majority of people who got arrested with me were moms, grandmothers, and school teachers. Like me, they are standing up against this big corporation and saying, ‘No.’”