TransCanada Decides its Own Verdict

TransCanada Decides its Own Verdict and Demands Writ of Possession for Land along Keystone XL Pipeline Path

TransCanada takes possession of farmer’s land and announces the results of trial on the Canadian National Broadcasting Network … all before the presiding Judge makes a final ruling.

PARIS, TX – In an interview aired on Canadian National Broadcasting Network on Monday, newscasters read a statement from TransCanada stating that:

“..On the issue of the common carrier status the ruling by Judge Harris reaffirms that TransCanada is a common carrier.”

In direct contrast with TransCanada’s public statement, last Friday in the Lamar County Courthouse, Judge Bill Harris announced first thing that there would not be a ruling in his courtroom.  The room was filled with statewide groups of all political persuasions supporting landowner Julia Trigg Crawford and her family against TransCanada which has announced plans to start building the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline on their property. The Keystone XL is to carry tar sands crude from Cushing, Oklahoma to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

Judge Harris has not ruled on the Crawford family’s case.  TransCanada has not proven its common carrier status.

Even though TransCanada has not proven their common carrier status, they did receive a writ of possession at the last hearing. This means that even though the judge has not yet ruled on their common carrier status, that they currently have legal possession of the Crawford family’s land and the legal right to begin trenching on their land at any point.

In Denbury Green vs. Texas Rice Land Farmers, the Texas Supreme Court recently upheld their ruling that a land owner has the legal right to challenge a pipeline company’s common carrier status.  They also ruled that a pipeline company cannot conclusively acquire the right to condemn private property simply by checking the right boxes on a one-page form filed with the Railroad Commission.
While the Denbury Green ruling still stands, it remains true that there is no legal process or agency in Texas responsible for vetting a pipeline company’s claim of common carrier status before that company is given the legal right to take possession of a private citizen’s land.

Spokesperson for Independent Texans and landowner in Big Sandy, Texas (a town on the pipeline pathway) Jessica Ellison, said “It is outrageous that a private company doesn’t have to prove that they have the legal ability to take your land before they start moving in with bulldozers and pipelines.  With TransCanada announcing a verdict before the judge rules, it seems like TransCanada keeps trying to put the cart before the horse and is ignoring the Supreme Court decision.”

Executive director of Public Citizen, Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith, said “The answers we need may not lie ultimately in this Judge’s decision; the answer may be an appeals court.  The final outcome will also be laid at the foot of the Texas legislature to do something about this kind of abuse. We have already begun the process of pointing out the grave inequities of companies being able to walk into the Railroad Commission saying ‘trust us, we’re a common carrier,’ and then be granted eminent domain authority without the needed checks and balances or  review by an authorized government agency. That needs to change with the next legislative session.”
Crawford’s hearing is the first case since the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the landowner’s right to protect private property from an illegal taking.   Judge Harris is expected to make a ruling on the matter within days.

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25 Responses to “TransCanada Decides its Own Verdict”

  • This is OUTRAGEOS. A FORIEGN company that can come in, and take over an American’s private property? And, think of therisk: if there s a spill, the stuff is more TOXIC than ordinary oil. AT first.\, according to newspaper reports, the goal was to refine the oil, then sell it to China. CHINA is trying to corner all of the mineral sources it can get it’s hands on. I know this from PERSONAL experience. Transcanda thereatened to construct a pipeline from Alberta to THEUR West coast. GOOD UCK. Let THE< try going throught the Rocky Mountains.
    If there be a pipeline into the Unoted States, let it be WATER. We need that more than oil.
    When are our government officals, the legislature, and the judges going to realize the threat to our environment, and our economy ? One might also add " to OUR FOOD SUPPLY? A spill over our water sources , and especially to the aquifers is a constant threat. The Ogalalla supplies water to eight states in the center of our country, and ranges from South Dakota to Texas. That aqufir is already being depleated zt 4 TiMES THE RATE than it is being replenished. And 70% if that water goes to famers who are all already struggling to supply us with food.
    I say, "Let Transcanada build their own refinery in their country, then truck it to their West coast where they can then ship it to China.

  • rowdy:

    Does this fall under stand your ground or castle doctine

  • edward:

    can the crawfords donate that section of land to a church. because if it is anything like when the build highways you can not enforce right of domomain on a church or religous organization. they have to come to terms or go around such peace of property. as in highway 36 in temple texas and a church of christ.

  • John J.B. Miller:

    My investment counselor in Houston recommended I buy some Trans-Canada bonds! I refused and sent them some of your material to explain why not. More and more often lately I find my environmental principles are in conflict with standard investment advice.

  • Lynda Duke:

    OH NO YOU DON’T! OH NO YOU DON’T! NO WAY!!!!

  • Wayne:

    In reply to Ed Malouf You might want to check things out as we have already started the pipeline west to the pacific and if the US does not get their act together the Keystone will most likely not happen If you guys don’t want our oil the keep buyng it from Saudi and Venezuela and quit bitching about the cost of your gas

  • mary c. decker:

    TransCanada’s behavior is in keeping with the way multinationals treat third-world countries. The United States must wake up to this and put a stop to such treatment. Thanks to so many people of goodwill from all segments of the population and political spectrum who are working peacefully and legally to protect our land and sovereignty. Mr. Miller above who refused to purchase lucrative Trans-Canada stock out of conviction is one of those effective protestors.

  • Bob Parmelee:

    It’s interesting that in the Malouf posting, we find out that the real opposition to the pipeline is oil, the lifeblood of jobs and commerce. Apparently there would be no concern about the seizure of private land if the Keystone was a water pipeline. As we all know the country is already crisscrossed with water, gas and oil pipelines, tunnels and underground utilities with trivial ill effect.
    We now know that the USA is self sufficient in oil and gas due to the extraordinary technological developments of private industry especially in the area of gas fracking and tar sands harvesting. Of course, President Obama tells us that private industry didn’t really develop these breakthroughs, the government did.
    If the impediments to oil and gas exploration were swept out of the way in North America (including in ANWR), the price of gasoline would drop to $1.50 a gallon or so and wars stemming from the world’s dependence on middle-east oil would be nonexistent. Do you know where the price is highest? Well, in Chicago of course. Today (8-16-2012) the average Chicago gas price hit $4.44 per gallon. At this price the average Chicago driver (15,000 miles per year, 23.1 MPG) pays a staggering $1908 “green opportunity cost”. Just think of the economic impact that the elimination of this green tax would have in bankrupt Chicago and Illinois. The only consolation is that the voters of Chicago are getting their just deserts. They are getting what they voted for. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel calls this craziness part of the “Chicago Values” system.
    In the interest of full disclosure I drive a Prius with a Romney bumper sticker.
    Bob Parmelee
    Sierra Club and Mensa member
    bobparm@zianet.com

  • Darlene Ray:

    If this land theft is allowed to happen, what’s next? Pipelines through schools, churches
    hospitals? Do you think this could be rammed through the Bush ranch or someone else as important or well known? No, they attack the little guy that cannot fight back because they lack the funds to fight. I say we suround the crawford ranch with layers of
    cars, trucks and tractors. Until this gets the media attention it should and the people in office see they may not get re-elected unless they start standing up for the people that put their butts there in the first place the foreign companies will continue to come here and throw their weight around. Let’s help the Crawfords draw a line in the sand and say take your pipe back to Canada. What burns me up is this is not going to benefit our country this oil is for the global market.

  • Jim Bush:

    If a foreign corporation can take our land, we Americans have obviously lost our soveregnty.

  • Margaret:

    @ Wayne…bitumen is not oil.

  • Allen, KXL Fighter From Nebraska:

    @ Wayne: You’re WRONG! Quit shilling for the Tarsands Industry. The Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project is DEAD IN THE WATER because the Province of British Columbia and the First Nations REFUSE TO ALLOW IT to cross either Provincial or Tribal land!

  • Allen, KXL Fighter From Nebraska:

    All you in Texas, at least be glad that the eminent domain laws in your state don’t make an exception for oil pipelines like they do up here in Nebraska. Thanks to U.S. Senate Candidate Deb Fischer (R) when she was a freshman State Senator back in 2006 (and while the Keystone I was first being planned) she rewrote and “strengthened” our State’s eminent domain laws, she left out (on purpose, as an AFP/Koch brothers backed candidate) oil pipelines as a class of commercial entity prohibited from exercising eminent domain on land owners. So, TransCanada, on the approval of the Governor of Nebraska, WITHOUT Federal approval of the permit for the Northern Section of the KXL, can seize fifth generation Nebraska landowners’ property for the KXL, and they are already planning on doing it in a couple of months!

    Moral: Beware of who you vote for, and more importantly, be aware of who it is holding the purse strings behind that candidate!

  • Allen, KXL Fighter From Nebraska:

    @ Bob Parmalee: There is NO way in h*ll you are a serious member of the Sierra Club and hold the opinion of Tarsands, fracking or the KXL that you do. Dilbit is NOT oil! More likely, you are an oil company employee with a guilt membership to the Sierra Club and drive a Prius because you’re just a cheap old b*st*rd who doesn’t want to spend the money on gas.

    I’m a fourth generation Nebraska Republican who considers himself a steward of the land, belongs to the Sierra Club for the RIGHT reasons, and BTW, I drive a B100 biodiesel powered ’98 K2500 4WD turbo diesel Suburban with all synthetic lubricants that is FAR MORE green than your Prius EVER will be!

    No Oil in Our Soil! Keep Our Water Blue, Remember Kalamazoo!

  • Go long all the way to Texas Hill country!

  • shelley:

    @Wayne, The oil will not be coming to us. That’s why the proposed pipeline goes straight to the ships in the gulf. It will be going to the highest bidder. In the future, that will be China.

  • Jodie:

    @ BobP. You are completely off base. Gasoline will never go down to that price ever again. Tell yourself whatever you need to convince yourself that your hatred of the Obama administration, liberals, and environmentalists is justified. This is simple economics. i.e. supply/demand. This is an international commodity. It is priced on the international market. There will never be an overabundance of oil because of developing countries needing more and more. In this case, China will be demanding more and more as it’s population becomes more and more capitalistic and upwardly mobile. They are all wanting to drive cars now. Bicycles are Passe’. And there are over 2 Billion of the. There are only 300 Million of us. The big oil companies are multinational companies and have ZERO concern over the price of gas in America or the plight of Americans monthly gas expenses. Any gas that is extracted in the US will be placed on the international commodities market and will go to the highest bidder.

  • Suz:

    So Transcanada….is that what great neighbors do huh? Lie their a** off and take what isn’t theirs? Who wants this business or their pipe in their back yard…oh wait “Bob” does!

  • Georgio:

    @Wayne RE: “If you guys don’t want our oil then keep buyng it from Saudi and Venezuela and quit bitching about the cost of your gas”.

    REALLY ???? Do you honestly think we would have any dependence on foreign oil if the government would pull the corks on all of our U.S. oil? Buy a vowel, or better yet… get a clue!

  • John O'Connor:

    Who cares where the oil comes from? The issue is how soon do we want the human race to be purged from this planet. Jeese, we’re destroying that which gives us life. Let’s work and prepare for the day that is going to last. Are we greedy and stupid? Seems so!!

  • Edwin Tullos:

    When one votes Republican, it is a request to permit this sort of happening.

  • Steve:

    Oil and gas will not go down because of KXL. Its traded globally. So this BS of it will get America less dependant on foreign oil is crapola. Canada is Foreign to US even if they are the same continent.. And Texas surely does,nt need their product.
    I have to agree with the other posters who think a massive blockade around these folks property is in order. And Texas does have the Castle doctrine.

  • ljcurtis:

    Hello Edwin — see our reply to John in this regard. Were it that easy to simply vote in the other party. The reality is that the Democratic Party has also chosen not to lead on property rights — where are they at this very moment?

    Texans are going to have to self-organize, outside the parties. We can support insurgent Democrats OR Republicans, or draft our own independent candidates.

  • […] contest against TransCanada’s common carrier claim and eminent domain status, TransCanada misinformed the press that the judge had ruled for TransCanada, and even argued in court that tar sands crude is the same […]

  • […] contest against TransCanada’s common carrier claim and eminent domain status, TransCanada misinformed the press that the judge had ruled for TransCanada, and even argued in court that tar sands crude is the same […]

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