Taking a Stand

Most of you who follow my blog know that I am opposed to the XL Keystone Pipeline that is to carry tar-sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast where it will be refined and then shipped out – most of it to go to foreign sales. Here is a link to a previous blog that outlines some of the environmental issues we could face if there is a break in this pipeline once it it complete.

It looks like we are not going to win our fight to keep the pipeline from coming through Texas, although one woman in North Texas is giving it her best shot. Julia Trigg Crawford, a former corporate headhunter who retired to run the family farm, has filed a suit based on the eminent domain laws in Texas. According to those laws pipelines, like railroads and utilities, can be privately owned but they must provide access to other companies to move their products. They cannot be for the use of a single private company. In her lawsuit, Crawford contends that the Keystone pipeline does not meet those standards. It is for the benefit of TransCanada alone and has not provided for third-party contracts.

“The line in the sand for my family is that we don’t believe a foreign company building a pipeline to put money in their pockets can take a Texan’s land. If you’re going to take it, you’re going to have to prove that you can,” Crawford said in an interview with Christy Hoppe of the Austin Bureau of The Dallas Morning News.

Crawford is also concerned for the environmental impact of the pipeline, although she has concentrated on the eminent domain issue in her efforts to stop it.  Up to this point, landowners have had no choice but to either take the monetary offer for their land, or have it condemned and taken by eminent domain. That is what has happened to Crawford, as well as many other Texans who did not want this pipeline because of environmental issues.

The material TransCanada plans to send through the pipeline has the consistency of roof tar. It does not flow like regular crude oil. The chemicals used to help keep the tar-sands oil moving are deadly and any leak could destroy an eco system for generations. If it seeps into an aquifer, it would poison the water for up to 100 years.

If there is not a court order to stop them, TransCanada could start laying pipe across Crawford’s land any day. They have acquired 100% of the land they need to go from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. So why does she keep fighting. “You learn even if you’re the last-seeded team going against the national champions, you still suit up, even if you are going to get the snot kicked out of you,” she said. “I need to be able to say to myself that I did all that I could.”

 When we feel that strongly about an issue, it is important to take a stand. I admire Crawford for her courage and strength.

STOP Tarsands Oil Pipeline organization.

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