Click here for the letter with signatures, posted below. Letter to Lt. Governor, Speaker of the Texas House and Texas Legislators
Dear Speaker, Lt. Governor and Legislators:
We visited your offices today, realizing you were busy with the current Special Session. However, we ask for your help to secure public hearings for Texans immediately following this Special Session – in the communities affected, starting with East Texas — who have suffered from the abuse of eminent domain in our great state. One of these individuals is a signatory of this letter, Julia Trigg Crawford, a farmer from Lamar County.
It is our understanding that Lt. Governor Dewhurst and/or House Speaker Straus, in order to secure these hearings, must call for an Interim Study, when the Legislature is not in session. Governor Perry recently put rumors to rest about adding to the Call. However, rumors abound that there could be an additional Special Session beginning just after July 4th. Therefore, we are asking for your commitment now for an Interim Study, for hearings to begin immediately following this session and for you to urge that the Governor hold on any additional sessions.
As you know, Texas eminent domain laws do not provide due process for individuals until after their land is seized. This is where the problem begins. There is also a list of problems that were heard in committee in the regular session, but there was not enough support to pass them. We believe public hearings would help bring about the support needed to secure passage in the next session.
We urge that the hearings for the Interim Study we ask for begin immediately in East Texas along the route of the TransCanada/Keystone XL Pipeline. This pipeline is due for completion sometime early next year. It is our additional concern that Landowners, together with Towns, Cities and Counties along the route, may be inadequately prepared for emergency measures needed if there is a pipeline breach. The fact that the pipeline is carrying diluted bitumen under high pressure, which carries particular dangers to health, safety and our water supply, has somehow been lost in the eminent domain shuffle. Moreover, given the high profile of Texas water availability, we believe that the protection of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which serves 10-12 million people, and which is traversed by this pipeline, deserves a special look by the Legislature. Last, the recent anomalies in new pipeline being laid by TransCanada were in the press last week. This points to the immediate need for hearings and full public disclosure. These landowners and nearby residents deserve at least this much.
Debra Medina, We Texans
Julia Trigg Crawford, Landowner, Lamar County