Posts Tagged ‘eminent domain’

No Eminent Domain for Private Gain

This just in from Debra Medina and We Texans:  “We had boots on the ground at the Texas Capitol yesterday as a number of folks called on members of the calendars committee to request that they tag HB 2748 by Lewis and move HB 3547 by Oliveira to the floor.  It is imperative that more folks carry that message to members of the calendars committee – call, email, fax or drop by offices.

HB 2748 devastates individual rights and sets the bar for even being able to get your eminent domain case to a court for a hearing on the facts very very high.  Considering the high cost of litigation, the ability to get to court is tough enough already for most landowners.  Lewis’ bill makes the Railroad Commission’s decision as to whether a pipeline is a common carrier a conclusive determination.  Many rightly fear that the “process” by the Railroad Commission will be no process at all but merely a rubber stamp “approved” on any pipeline’s application.

Chairman Oliveira’s bill establishes a more formal objective process to be administered by the State Office of Administrative Hearings and requiring at least one public hearing in effected counties in an effort to insure that all relevant facts are heard and considered before a designation of common carrier (and the ability to condemn property using eminent domain) is granted.

With 34 days remaining in the session, public pressure must remain high if private property rights are going to be protected from the ongoing abuse by self designated common carrier pipelines in Texas.”


The Battle for Private Property Rights in Texas & Pipelines


There are two competing bills addressing common carrier pipeline designations currently working their way through the Texas House.  WHY? Well, because, one bill favors the industry, HB 2748, authored by Rep. Tryon Lewis and one attempts to create an objective process and oversight, HB 3547, authored by Rep. Rene Oliveira.

It is critical that Texas Landowners attend this hearing and share with the committee their concerns about the common carrier pipeline designation process (or lack thereof).

Landowners need notice.
Landowners need access to the courts.
Texans deserve agencies that insure the industries they regulate follow the law.
WHAT: Business & Industry Committee Hearing on HB 3547
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, 2013 (or when the House stands adjourned, if that is later than 1:30 p.m.)
WHERE: E2.014, Texas Capitol Extension


Hearing in Austin, Monday, July 23 — No Eminent Domain for Private Gain!

We now have a page up for the hearing next Monday, July 23rd, in Austin.  Please COME to Austin for this hearing!

We will be available starting at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Grill (Room E1.002),  The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in Room E2.012.  Go here for details on parking, etc.
Now, whether or not you can make it next Monday, please call your state representative today about the following.  It appears that the speakers for this hearing on Monday are “by invitation only”.  This is not really the public hearings we have been asking for.  What we really want is for landowners — those most affected by the eminent domain abuses by pipelines (the most immediate being the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline in East Texas) — to have public hearings in their communities.  Please call your state representative today and ask him or her to push for full public hearings in the areas affected right now by the land seizures related to the TransCanada pipeline in east Texas.  You can let him or her know that there is a hearing on Monday at 10 a.m. of Rep. Rene Oliveira’s Land and Resource Management Committee about eminent domain abuses related to this issue.  He or she might also want to send a staffer to this hearing.
You can contribute to Julia Trigg Crawford’s legal case against TransCanada at her website here and for those of you who can make it to Paris, Texas for her hearing on August 10th, please do — mark your calendars and we’ll send you more details soon.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it to Austin next Monday!  

Terri HallTexas TURF
Linda CurtisIndependent Texans
P.S.  Here’s the recent article in the Houston Chronicle about our efforts to protect Texans’ property rights.

URGENT: Fight TransCanada’s Unfair Keystone XL Land Seizures: Stand With Julia!

“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

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 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 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:

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

PS. Don’t forget to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Like the Stand With Julia facebook page here:


Pre-Holiday Quick Things To Do & Good Tidings!

*  After hearing your input, we have decided to join with We Texans, TURF (Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom) and TAG (Texans for Accountable Government) to call for hearings of the Land and Resource Management Committee in the Texas House on the plan to bring the Keystone XL (TransCanada) pipeline across the NE portion of our state.  We have questions, not yet answered, about the use of eminent domain to seize private property for this project.  We also have serious concerns about this pipeline crossing the Carrizo-Wildox aquifer that 12 million people depend on.

TO DO:  Please click here to sign the petition/letter to the Chair, Vice-Chair and Texas House Speaker Strauss asking for hearings.

*  The Texas fling deadline (not to mention this election) is up in the air!  The filing deadline is going to reopen sometime, likely, in mid or even late, January.  Therefore there’s still time for reform candidates to run on any party line or independent.  Does anyone not yet get that politicians should not be able to draw their own district lines?  If you know good folks interested in running for office (on any party line or independent), who support redistricting reform, have them contact us asap.

*  The Texas water wars continue.  A great organization that is challenging in court how precious groundwater is mismanaged in Texas, is Environmental Stewardship.  Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to ES here.

THOSE AFFECTED BY THE BASTROP FIRE:  Please click here to go to the Bastrop County Taxpayers Association to learn about how you can get a reduction in your property taxes, if your home has been harmed, by joining with others similarly affected.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & good tidings to all and however you celebrate this time of year!

Linda Curtis, Independent Texans


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