Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Farmer Loses Restraining Order Against Keystone XL Pipeline

Photo by Flickr user Loozrboy/Creative Commons

The Keystone XL pipeline would take oil from sand pits in Canada to refineries in Texas.

It’s round two in the ongoing battle between a northeast Texas farmer and the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline.

Today a district court judge dissolved a restraining order filed by farmer Julia Trigg Crawford against the TransCanada corporation, which wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline across her property. After Crawford declined to sign an agreement with the company, they used eminent domain to gain access to her land. She responded by filing a temporary restraining order, which up until today had kept the company from going onto her land. But the two will meet again at a trial over the eminent domain claim in the same court in April.

“It’s obviously a disappointment,” Crawford said in a statement, “but the bigger question is whether they took my land and land from other Texans legally. I don’t think they did and I think they’ll get a rude awakening when we show up in court in April.”

“We are gratified with Judge Harris’s ruling to dissolve the temporary restraining order,” TransCanada said in a statement. “We believed from the outset — and apparently Judge Harris agreed — that the temporary restraining order was without merit and improperly granted.”

Crawford has voiced concerns about the enviromental impacts of the pipeline on her farmland, which she says will create a “vegetative dead zone” across her property. She has also said that there are Indian artifacts on her property that may be threatened by construction of the pipeline. TransCanada said at a hearing last week that they would drill horizontally under the artifacts to avoid damaging them.

“This is the problem with giving pipelines eminent domain with no oversight – they bully people,” Crawford said in a statement. “TransCanada didn’t offer this alternative until they’d condemned my property and forced me to respond with a restraining order. The deck is stacked against the property owner in Texas, and I think a lot of Texans would be upset to learn that fact.”


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