“There’s no such thing as a voluntary agreement with a company or government that has the power to take your property,” – Bill Peacock, vice president for the Texas Public Policy Foundation
Dear Fellow Texans:
Thank you for being a good neighbor. When you added your name to a petition calling for Texas public hearings to discuss illegal land seizures along the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline, you stood up for Texans’ property rights and against corporate entitlements.
One such regular Texan is Julia Trigg Crawford, who has almost single-handedly stopped (for the moment) TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in its tracks in NE Texas.
Texans defeated the Trans-Texas Corridor for the same reasons that TransCanada deserves defeat – eminent domain abuses in the extreme.
Apparently, those who are rushing to bring TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline through Texas haven’t yet learned their lesson: Don’t mess with Texas landowners.
Our movement is gathering momentum by the day, but your help is urgently needed.
How you can help:
1) We need your financial support (small, medium and large) for Julia Trigg Crawford’s “David and Goliath” fight against TransCanada. It will be the first test case of the Denbury decision by the Texas Supreme Court. (more later)
Stand with Julia, Stand with Texans: Donate to the Crawford Defense Fund at www.standwithjulia.com.
2) We need your help to pressure the state of Texas to hold hearings along the planned pipeline route throughout east Texas in order to further expose eminent domain abuses yet to be publicized.
A Texan’s Story: Julia Trigg Crawford and Her Keystone XL Nightmare
In Direct, Texas (a little town near Paris, in NE Texas), Julia Trigg Crawford manages a 600-acre farm that’s been in her family since 1948. The land is adjacent to the Red River and filled with Caddo Indian artifacts. Mega-corporation, TransCanada wants to seize parts of the Crawford’s land to build the Keystone XL — a 36” export pipeline that will pump corrosive tar sands at a pressure far higher than conventional oil — down to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico in South Texas.
When TransCanada came knocking to try and buy the Crawford family land, Julia Trigg did not want to sell. That didn’t matter much to TransCanada — they thought they had the right to take the Crawford’s land, whether the family wanted to give it to them or not. They had filed and been granted their T-4 permit from the Railroad Commission; they had checked a box on this form claiming to be a common carrier — nothing more was needed for them to use the power of eminent domain to seize land from uncooperative landowners.
The Fox is Minding the Hen House — The Railroad Commission Passes the Buck while Texans’ Private Property Rights Are Abused
The Houston Chronicle recently quoted, James Prescott, a spokesperson for TransCanada, “With the RR Commission’s issuance of the [T-4] permit, the ability to exercise eminent domain is included with it.”
But, Railroad Commission spokesperson, Ramona Nye, gave a different answer:
“The Railroad Commission has no authority over granting pipelines such as Keystone,”
And further stated that eminent domain “is a private property rights issue, established in statutes enacted by the Texas Legislature.”
She added that the T-4 permit “is not a permit to develop and construct a pipeline. It is a registration process and a permit to operate a pipeline with the commission . . . The Railroad Commission does not have the authority to determine who is and who is not a common carrier.”
Stand with Julia, Stand with Texans: Donate to the Crawford Defense Fund at www.standwithjulia.com to make TransCanada Prove Their Common Carrier Status!
Without the Crawford family ever seeing the inside of a courtroom, TransCanada condemned their land. To prove their right to seize the Crawford family’s property, they claim that the Railroad Commission gave them the power of eminent domain — even though the Railroad Commission claims they have no authority over granting the power of eminent domain!
The Supreme Court of Texas recently reaffirmed their opinion in the Denbury Green decision: checking a box does not conclusively establish eminent domain power. TransCanada took the Crawford family’s land before they ever had to show proof of fulfilling the legal requirements of a public pipeline — And, that’s not right!
The Crawford family is fighting the oil giant TransCanada for their land and for the rights of all property owners in Texas. But, they can’t do it without you — TransCanada has a legion of lawyer hounds that are desperate to stop them and us.
Please join with Texans who played a key role in defeating the Trans-Texas Corridor. We are sick and tired of state officials pretending to care about “private property rights” while they give multinational corporate interests the green light to take our land.
Stand with us against corporate bullies that use unconstitutional legal loopholes to steal land from Texas property owners. With a court date on April 30th, the Crawford’s urgently need your financial support to help with legal costs. Go to www.standwithjulia.com and donate today — 100% of the funds go to support their legal defense.
Ordinary Texans from across the spectrum defended their land from the Trans-Texas Corridor project and won — with your help we can win this fight, too.
You can also help by asking more Texans to sign the letter/petition calling for public hearings in Texas on eminent domain abuse here: http://www.indytexans.org/2012/02/18/sign-the-petition-letter-for-texas-hearings-on-transcanada-pipeline/
Stand with us,
Terri Hall, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom
Debra Medina, We Texans
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans
Jessica Ellison, Texans for Accountable Government