Citizen Action Monitor

Texas family loses court battle against TransCanada: 15-word decision sent from judge’s iPhone

Julia Trigg Crawford, a farmer, plans appeal

No 573 Posted by fw September 21, 2012

A sad update to my August 6, 2012 post, Over $45,000 raised to help Texas family STOP TransCanada from seizing their farm for pipeline. The greedy scoundrels took advantage of a legal loophole to seize private land. According to a New York Times’ report:

The case has shed light on a loophole in Texas’s oil and gas regulation — one that critics say has given pipeline companies carte blanche to seize private land. Activists across the political spectrum have rallied behind Ms. Crawford’s cause, from conservative rural landowners and Tea Party organizations to environmental groups. At issue was whether TransCanada is a common carrier — a company with pipeline open to any oil company willing to pay published rates. In Texas, a common carrier has the power to condemn land with little oversight.

Judge Rules in Favor of Oil Giant in Eminent Domain Case for Keystone XL Pipeline, published by EcoWatch, August 23, 2012

Jane Kleeb, executive director for BOLD Nebraska, released the following statement in response to a Lamar County, Texas judge ruling against landowner Julia Trigg Crawford and in favor of oil giant TransCanada in Crawford’s eminent domain case to halt the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through her private property:

“The fact that a foreign company can claim rights to American private property without having to prove that it is a Common Carrier or prove that a single drop of the oil will remain in America is an affront to landowners’ liberties. TransCanada has used its financial and legal resources to bully landowners like Julia Trigg Crawford in order to clear the way for their multi-billion dollar tar sands pipeline.

Throughout the process, landowners have been cast aside and their concerns about land and water ignored. Judge Bill Harris went so far as to dismiss Ms. Crawford’s entire case with a 15 word ruling sent from his iPhone—an action that speaks to the appalling ways ranchers, stewards of the land, have been treated in this fight.

Despite these serious environmental concerns about infringement on property rights, the GOP is insistent that this tar sands pipeline be built immediately. In fact, presumptive nominee Mitt Romney has said “I will build that pipeline if I have to myself.”

Republicans ignore commitment to property rights in favor of Big Oil

As we approach the RNC in Tampa this weekend, it is important to note that the 2008 Republican Platform took a firm stand on eminent domain in regards to the recent Kelo decision. The platform called ‘on state legislatures to moot the Kelo decision by appropriate legislation,’ and further pledged, ‘on the federal level to pass legislation to protect against unjust federal takings.’

Landowners like Julia Trigg Crawford from all along the Keystone XL pipeline route have been doing everything in their power to keep TransCanada off their property, but the GOP is now ignoring its commitment to property rights in favor of giving Big Oil a free pass.


  • Protests And Civil Disobedience Against Construction Of The Keystone XL Pipeline Continue by Think Progress: Public Lands Team, September 19, 2012 — The fact is, other tactics – lobbying, petitioning, and packing public hearings – have failed to halt the pipeline. State authorities have bent to every TransCanada desire, and they show no signs of stopping now… construction has already begun on the southern leg of the pipeline, which runs from Cushing, Oklahoma to various refineries in southern Texas.  Construction on the “Gulf Coast segment” of the pipeline began in early August after President Obama directed his administration to “make this project a priority” in March.
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