Posts Tagged ‘TransCanada’

Media Advisory: Monday, June 17th, 3 pm Media Conference

Contacts:  Debra Medina, We Texans, 512.663.8401, Linda Curtis or Jessica Ellison, Independent Texans, 512.657.2089 and 512.653.9179, Julia Trigg Crawford, 713.443.8789, Laura Ehrlich, Jim Hightower & Associates, 512.477-5588

Cross-Partisan Coalition Calls on Lt. Governor and House Speaker for Interim Study and Full Public Hearings on Eminent Domain Abuse Starting in East Texas, to include Public Safety Concerns Related to Potential Water Threats from Tar Sands Crude and Hydraulic Fracking

WHAT:  An unlikely coalition of leaders from across the partisan divide are starting a door knocking campaign to urge Lt. Governor Dewhurst and House Speaker Straus to call for an Interim Study on Eminent Domain Abuse following the close of the current Special Session.  Rumors abound that the Governor will call yet another Special Session in July, this one with eminent domain on the Call.  This would waste taxpayer dollars as consensus is unlikely because affected Texans have yet to be heard.

WHEN:  Press Conference is on Monday, June 17th at 3 pm, just following door knocking.

WHERE:  Outside the Capitol Grill, Capitol Extension, E1.002 (3 pm)

WHY: We believe a consensus on real eminent domain reform is impossible without FULL PUBLIC HEARINGS in the affected areas of Texas (not Austin).  The Lt. Governor and House Speaker are empowered to call for an Interim Study.  This should begin immediately following this Special Session in the areas where land was seized by TransCanada for the Keystone XL pipeline, before any hearings took place whatsoever.  Hearings that did take place were limited to the parties and excluded critical issues such as the potential harm from a spill over one of the largest Texas aquifers, the Carrizo-Wilcox that serves 10-12 million people and countless farms.  If the aquifer is polluted, the aquifer is dead and so would be Texas farming and our economy.  In addition, these hearings should address hydraulic fracking’s excessive use of potable water in the midst of our severe water shortage.

SPEAKERS:  (and possibly more)

Julia Trigg Crawford, Lamar County farmer

Debra Medina, We Texans

Jim Hightower, former Texas Agriculture Commissioner


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.

Sign the Petition Letter for Texas Hearings on TransCanada/Keystone XL Pipeline!

There is a growing call for public hearings from  Texas landowners and residents in NE Texas who are facing potential eminent domain seizures of their land for the Keystone XL/TransCanada pipeline.  The following organizations are doing this together:  Independent Texans, We Texans, Texans for Accountable Government, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom.

Please sign this petition/letter to State Representative and Chair of the Land and Resource Management Committee, Rene Oliveira, committee Vice-Chair, Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt and Texas House Speaker, Rep. Joe Straus.

[emailpetition id=”3″]



It’s protest time as TransCanada sicks legal hounds on Texas property rights

A coalition of groups including Independent TexansWe Texans (founded by Debra Medina), Texas TURF (founded by Terri Hall), and Texans for Accountable Government, are standing up for Texas property rights and to put a stop to the continued abuses by foreign corporations and the refusal of our legislature to truly reform eminent domain laws.

You may have seen the news coverage yesterday about the bullying tactics used by TransCanada to grab private property in NE Texas for the Keystone XL pipeline.  This is happening despite the fact that not only do they not have a federal permit, they have no state permit.  What they have is complicity with violating the property rights of Texans, from the Governor to the Railroad Commission.  (See press herehere and here.)
Last Tuesday, Julia Trigg Crawford and family of Paris, Texas, won a temporary restraining order to stop TransCanada from moving forward with trenching on her property for the Keystone pipeline.  She reported that her property had been condemned and seized by TransCanada and she had never even seen a judge.  So, it appeared she would get her day in court.  However, yesterday TransCanada filed a motion to dissolve the TRO.  There is a hearing on Friday in Paris, Texas on this issue.
Yes, Texas, we have an eminent domain problem.  Until the legislature REALLY fixes it, it’s time to stand up and be counted.  Therefore, we are supporting a protest outside the courthouse in Paris, Texas and in Austin, outside the Railroad Commission.
Please come!  Please pass this message on by forwarding this message or here on blog (use the share buttons.)
You can also help with phone calls or make a donation to our efforts.  Donate here.
Friday, Feb. 17, Paris, Texas, 9 am, In front of Lamar County Courthouse, 119 North Main- Paris, Texas.  Dallas Car Pool:  Meet in the parking lot at Walmart on Midway/LBJ at 6:45 am.  Park your car near the Lazy Boy store, not near the Walmart. Look for Rita’s silver Toyota 4-Runner.  Estimated time to be back in Dallas around 1:30 pm.
Friday, Feb. 17, Austin, 10 am, outside the Railroad Commission, 1701 Congress.  Bring quarters for parking meters.
Wear your Texas regalia, bring the Texas, US and “Don’t tread on me” flags.  It is time for us to stop this nonsense.
Linda Curtis
Independent Texans
PO Box 651
Bastrop, TX 78602
512-535-0989 office
512-657-2089 cell
PS  You can also make sure your friends have signed the petition/letter calling for legislative hearings in Texas on TransCanada.  Go here.

TransCanada Eerily Like Trans-Texas Corridor for Property Owners

Independent Texans is now part of a growing statewide coalition, along with We Texans (founded by Debra Medina), Texas TURF (founded by Terri Hall) and Texans for Accountable Government (Jessica Ellison is their liaison).  We are helping landowners in NE Texas who are having their land seized through eminent domain by TransCanada as they move to build the Keystone XL pipeline.  And, yes, this is despite the Obama administration’s rejection — for now — of the TransCanada permit.  What is sickening about this is that landowners in NE Texas have been under continual siege.  First, by the plan to flood hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland for a reservoir for Dallas development, followed by the efforts to seize their land for the Trans-Texas Corridor.  So far, both efforts have failed, and we intend to stop the TransCanada line until and unless all potential risks and harm is vetted in public hearings.

Apparently, as Terri Hall had warned in the last legislative session, SB 18, the so-called eminent domain “reform” bill had loopholes for pipeline companies you could drive a mack truck through.

Watch this FOX news clip that is really hilarious with the two sides saying exactly opposite things.  What is clear is that the landowners are getting screwed again…unless we, citizens, do something about it.  Click here to make sure to sign the petition/letter calling for public hearings in Texas.  Read the press release below too.

Landowners Rally Against Keystone Pipeline :


from We Texans, Independent Texans, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, Texans for Accountable Government

Groups Cry Foul as TransCanada Continues to Bully Landowners 

Despite Denial of Pipeline Permit Texas Private Property Rights an Ongoing Issue for Keystone XL Pipeline

Dallas, TX – Today a new statewide coalition of groups and advocates for private property rights has announced its support for landowners along the path of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. The groups charge that TransCanada, the company proposing to build the pipeline, has used eminent domain to bully landowners and condemn private property.

Despite a presidential permit denied to TransCanada for the Keystone XL project just weeks ago, the company continues to bully and pressure landowners along the Texas pipeline route.

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands crude more than 1900 miles through six states including Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.  In Texas, the pipeline crosses eighteen counties, from Paris to Pt. Arthur.  Groups with landowners near the cities of Paris, Winnsboro, and Wells joined in press events held in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston to ask for support from agencies and officials on the continuing plight of landowners who would be impacted by the pipeline.

“Texas, we have an eminent domain problem,” said Terri Hall, director of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF). “There is absolutely zero oversight for pipeline companies that want to take private property from Texans – all you have to do is check the right box on a form and declare yourself a common carrier, no questions asked.”

The form Hall refers to is a T4 permit application filed with the Texas Railroad Commission. In a recent Texas Supreme Court case, Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. and Mike Latta vs. Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas LLC , the court effectively revoked the eminent domain authority of the pipeline builder, holding that “Private property cannot be imperiled… by checking a certain box on a one-page government form.”  In order to be a common carrier, a company needs to satisfy the question if it is purposed for public use.  The pipeline company in this case did not meet the criteria of “common carrier” , as it was merely a private company transporting product to one of its own subsidiaries, therefore, not meeting the criteria of operating for public use or the public good.  There is a real question as to whether the private entity TransCanada Keystone XL meets those same criteria.

The ruling has been hailed as a major victory for private property rights in Texas. Advocates like Hall and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina say that conservative politicians have campaigned on the issue but have done too little for property owners.

“Texas politicians talk tough on eminent domain, but with Keystone we have a private pipeline company acting as a ‘common carrier’ and bludgeoning private property owners with eminent domain while many of our Republican leaders cheer from the sidelines,” said Medina who is also director of We Texans.

“Despite the fact that this permit has been denied and there technically is no permit for TransCanada, the company continues to bully and pressure Texas landowners,” Medina noted.  “And we would all like to ask, by what authority does this company have to continue insisting that landowners settle with them when there is no permit?”

Linda Curtis of Independent Texans, who helped coordinate groups in 2006 supporting Carole Strayhorn’s independent gubernatorial bid and the anti-Trans-Texas Corridor efforts said, “A similar statewide grassroots movement is waiting in the wings on this issue because the problems are way too familiar to east Texans who fought to stop the land grab for the TTC.”

Medina and Hall held press events in Houston and San Antonio respectively, standing with landowners who say they’ve been bullied by TransCanada. Former DISH, TX mayor Calvin Tillman hosted a similar event in Dallas, and in Austin Independent Texans director Linda Curtis and Jessica Ellison of Texans for Accountable Government spoke.

Landowners attending the events have property condemned or are being pushed into negotiated settlements and claim their story has not been told. Landowners say theirs are among more than 80 cases in Texas where TransCanada, a private foreign pipeline company, condemned private property belonging to Texans.

“At this moment my property is condemned and legally TransCanada can lay that pipeline and pump undisclosed chemicals through it, even though we’ve never seen a judge,” said Julia Trigg Crawford of Lamar County. “I think most Texans would be stunned to find out that there is no process for challenging eminent domain use in a pipeline case until after your land has already been condemned.”

Crawford is challenging TransCanada’s right to common carrier and eminent domain in her case.  TransCanada’s representatives indicate they want to settle with the Crawfords out of court.  However, they insist on retaining the right to begin construction/trenching as soon as March 1, 2012. TransCanada’s representatives indicate they want to settle with the Crawfords out of court.  However, they insist on retaining the right to begin construction/trenching as soon as March 1, 2012.

“We need our officials to stand up and help these landowners,” commented Calvin Tillman, former Mayor of Dish.  “Currently the Railroad Commission and other state agencies are passing the buck, claiming they have no authority over Keystone wanting to build a segment from Cushing to the Texas coast.  Where are our legislators?  Where are the authorities to protect Texas landowners from private companies like TransCanada?”

The group also pointed out that the company misled landowners in other situations, telling property owners the pipeline had all necessary permits and repeatedly telling individual landowners that they were the last holdouts, making the pipeline seem inevitable and securing more favorable terms for the company.

Debra Medina –  512.663.8401, We Texans                  Calvin Tillman – 940.453.3640, former Mayor of Dish                 

Linda Curtis – 512.657.2089, Independent Texans       Terri Hall – 210.275.0640, TURF                                   

Jessica Ellison – 512.653.9179, Texans for Accountable Government

Julia Trigg Crawford – 713.443.8789 , Landowner, Paris     Eleanor Fairchild – 903.857.2284, Landowner, Winnsboro



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