Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Judge Delays East Texas TransCanada Pipeline Decision

Photo by Terrence Henry/StateImpact Texas

East Texas landowner Mike Bishop in a file photo taken earlier this year. Bishop is suing a state agency for allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to cross his property.

East Texas landowner Mike Bishop went to Nacogdoches County Court on Tuesday hoping that the judge would grant a temporary injunction against the TransCanada Pipeline Company.

He left court later in the afternoon disappointed.

Bishop sought a judgement to keep workers from entering his property.  The company is laying pipe for the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The ultimate plan is to move millions of barrels of heavy oil sands1,700 miles from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The Keystone XL pipeline needs to move across a lot of privately-owned land, involving some 850 landowners. Not all of them are enthusiastic about that.

County Court at Law Judge Jack Sinz delayed a decision on Bishop’s request for an injunction on jurisdictional grounds. Raising the question of whether the Nacogdoches County Court, or a District Court would be a better place to hear the case. He now wants both parties to file briefs regarding jurisdiction by early January, according to Bishop.

In the meantime TransCanada will be able to continue to work on the pipeline. Bishop fears that work will be done before the legal decision is made.

“They dumped gravel on my property today. They’ve got the pipe. They’re fixin’ to weld the pipe up. It’s about two miles down the road from me, three,” Bishop told StateImpact Texas.

Bishop has also attempted to block the pipeline by filing a lawsuit against the Texas Railroad Commission. He still believes that that lawsuit will be successful and that the Commission will pull TransCanada’s permit.

“I think that in the end public pressure is going to be the thing that does it,” he said.


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