Archive for January, 2014
If you have already signed our letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott, THANK YOU!
If you haven’t yet signed it, please do here: Online Letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott
The Attorney General has received something on the order of 1,000 letters. We need your help to multiply this to 10,000 asap!
Here's how you can help:
Note! There are three pipelines carrying diluted bitumen (aka tar sands crude) across East Texas. The Keystone XL, Seaway and the Pegasus. For the moment, Pegasus is shut down due to a lawsuit against its owner, Exxon, taken by the Attorney General of Arkansas AFTER the devastating spill in Mayflower, Arkansas last March.
In the case of the TransCanada’s Keystone XL, we are urging that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is known for his challenges to the feds, to step in NOW, BEFORE a breach harms public safety, land and our precious East Texas waterways. (The letter explains).
TransCanada is saying that what's coming through the Keystone XL is "crude". Even if that's true (only the AG might get a straight answer), it won't be for long. Everyone on earth knows this is a tar sands pipeline. Therefore, we believe that TransCanada may well be adding to the problem of confusion and ill preparation.
What's the problem with tar sands? This site tells it all: http://www.tarsandsprotectionleague.org/
How do you protect yourself, your land and your water? This site tells you more: http://safecommunityalliance.org/pipeline.html
We're working with folks through the Texas Pipeline Watch site and Facebook page to work with communities adjacent to the tar sands pipelines (Keystone XL, Pegasus and Seaway), to watch for problems and get the appropriate authorities involved when there is a problem: TexasPipelineWatch.org
Remember this CBS national news story on November 12th about Keystone XL's faulty construction? We just learned that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the federal agency that oversees the Keystone XL, has not adequately reinspected since this report.
It's now time to turn to the Attorney General Greg Abbott. Please read this. Then send the letter linked below in this message -- and please do it right away.
The Attorney General has broad powers.
If you live in Texas, sign this letter to Attorney General Abbott and it will be immediately sent to his office and copied to the three Commissioners on the Railroad Commission:
You can also print the "Dear Attorney General Abbott" letter right here have others to sign, then mail it to:
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
or call (800) 252-8011
Please send a copy to your Congressman, your State Representative and your State Senator. (To find their addresses go here.)
No matter where you live in Texas, you are invited to sign this. All for one and one for all, Texans!
This release was sent to statewide media. Please consider writing a letter to the editor about this of your local newspaper.
This Letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott from Public Citizen provides more details as to the safety issues.
There's lots more background and maps about how East Texas is affected at: TexasPipelineWatch.org.
More soon. We hope to hear from you now!
Attorney General Gregg Abbott Urged to Use of “Broad Powers”
to Protect Public Safety and end Eminent Domain Abuse
Texans, especially across East Texas, are being contacted to reach Attorney General Greg Abbott before the startup of the Keystone XL pipeline on January 22. They are urging his involvement in protecting NE Texans’ property rights and waterways, and prodding the federal pipeline agency – the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) – on conducting due diligence in inspecting the pipeline before its start up.
Jim Williams, a retired chemical engineer in Houston with 44 years of experience working for many of the big oil in oil and gas, chemicals, and pipelines control and safety shutdown systems said, “In a meeting with PHMSA last week, it appears to us that the feds have not adequately inspected this pipeline following Public Citizen’s in-depth report, warning letters from PHMSA, and the CBS national news report delineating its possible faulty construction. We’re now appealing to the Attorney General to use the full arsenal of his constitutional, statutory, and common law powers to protect our property rights and the health and safety of our families.”
Linda Curtis, Executive Director of the new non-profit, non-partisan League of Independent Voters of Texas said, “We are asking citizens to send a letter to the Attorney General on the heels of 9 hearings in East Texas. These hearings, held in November and December, were organized by citizens themselves since the Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus have not responded to a cross-partisan coalition’s requests since June 2013 to hold an interim study and public hearings on eminent domain, public safety and protection of East Texas waterways.”
The letter being sent to the Attorney General from citizens across the state asks the Attorney General to:
Demand that the federal government conduct due diligence on safety inspections on the Keystone XL before start up, or to otherwise delay its operation.
Inform officials throughout East Texas that they must make adequate safety plans for a breach of tar sands, which poses significantly more hazards to life, air and water than what TransCanada is telling officials is coming through their pipeline -- that would be just "crude oil."
Use the power of his office to end the use of eminent domain for private gain and to prevent its use solely to obtain discounts from real world values and to avoid liability from pipeline disasters.
The letter is also being copied to the three commissioners on the Railroad Commission. To date, the Railroad Commission has stood by the procedure for companies gaining eminent domain power by simply checking off a box on a “T4” form, despite the Texas Supreme Court ruling in Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. v. Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC, 363 S.W.3d 192 (Tex. 2012) that this was insufficient. According to David Holland, “six years to the day less three weeks have passed since the supposed common carrier was formed on February 28, 2008, the actual facts of the now well known "Denbury Case" have never been presented to the public or any governmental entity. Denbury has filed yet another summary legal proceeding to keep the real facts in the dark, including whether or not the supposed pipeline company is anything more than a mere pretext.” The Denbury case has been remanded back to the lower court for a determination of the facts. A hea ring will be held in Beaumont on February 7.
The online letter to the Attorney General can be found here on the League of Independent Voter’s website here.
Even the bovines and equines get it.
No Eminent Domain for Private Gain!
This media release just went out to over 1,000 media outlets throughout Texas about Julia Trigg Crawford's important appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. Please share this as you wish by sharing this from our web blog or just copy it and paste it into an email.
We will be back in touch real soon with our plans for the new year!
For Immediate Release: Jan. 8, 2014
Contact: Julia Trigg Crawford, 713-443-8789
Texas’s Highest Court Favors Texas Landowner
Over Foreign Pipeline Giant TransCanada
AUSTIN, TX – The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of landowner Julia Trigg Crawford, ordering TransCanada to submit information by Feb. 6 as the justices weigh arguments to hear the case regarding eminent domain abuse.
Texas’s highest court delivered a clear victory for pipeline opponents and landowners fighting TransCanada’s overreach on property rights. At the heart of Crawford’s case is the ability of TransCanada, a foreign corporation, to use eminent domain under the state's "common carrier" clause since their pipeline transports 90% Canadian tarsands and 10% North Dakota oil. There is no on ramp for Texas oil therefore violating the definition of a common carrier under Texas law.
Crawford said she looks forward to her family’s day in court, "As a landowner, property rights are key to my livelihood and family legacy. A foreign corporation pumping foreign oil simply does not qualify as a common carrier under Texas law. TransCanada does not get to write their own rules. I look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case and our plea to protect the fundamental rights of property owners."
The ruling on Wednesday from the Texas Supreme Court means that Crawford will be able to take the next step in the appeals process against TransCanada. The southern segment, also known as Gulf Coast Segment, stretches from Cushing, Oklahoma to Beaumont, Texas and carries tarsands or dilbit which is a combination of tarsands and chemicals that react very differently than conventional Texas oil when spills occur.
“We’re thrilled, because the a court has finally ruled in favor of us – the little guys – and against a foreign oil giant,” Julia Trigg Crawford continued. “Basically, TransCanada said that it wanted a waiver from responding to our petition, and the Supreme Court said, ‘No, you must respond’.”
Crawford says her case has broad implications, because if she wins, TransCanada and other foreign oil companies will no longer be able to use eminent domain to seize land for their private profit without direct proof their pipeline is carrying Texan oil.
TX Supreme Court Ruling: http://www.scribd.com/doc/197429631/Texas-Supreme-Court-Ruling-in-Favor-of-Landowner
Pictures of Julia Trigg Crawford: http://www.standtallwithjulia.com