The TX judge sent Julia Trigg Crawford a 15 word ruling from his Iphone regarding her plea to have TransCanada prove they are a common carrier before they can use eminent domain.
15 words. From his Iphone. That is how much her case meant to him.
While I’m sure the fancy TransCanada lawyers and lobbyists are drinking scotch, smoking cigars and high fiving each other, citizens and landowners continue to be disgusted that our United States government is allowing a foreign company seize Americans’ land–against their will–through eminent domain without even requiring them to prove they are a common carrier, without any type of citizen hearing and without any proof that any of this tarsands is dedicated for American use.
On top of the fact that TransCanada had 14 leaks and spills in their first year of operation on Keystone 1 (they told us they would have 11 in over 50 years), got issued a Corrective Action Order by PHMSA because their pipeline was a threat to life and the Canadian government just this week issued a safety violation.
TransCanada can not be trusted to operate a safe pipeline. They can only be trusted to mislead Americans and politicians. We hope this madness ends soon. Our government should side with landowners and citizens, not a foreign oil company.
Julia Trigg Crawford’s Statement:
Anyone following this case knows my family and I were in it to win, so of course we are incredibly disappointed in today’s ruling….Disappointed that Judge Harris wholly dismissed our entire case with a 15 word ruling sent from his iPhone….Disheartened that Texas landowners must still challenge oil corporations in court on what should be State-level permitting issues….and Disturbed that a foreign corporation like TransCanada is allowed to hide behind the skirt of the Texas Railroad Commission and its Common Carrier rubber stamp.
It is absolutely unbelievable to me eminent domain abuse continues in Texas given the revelations made during our court case. With every turn we found black holes of responsibility, endless loops of (non)accountability, and the cart miles in front of the horse. The Texas Railroad Commission says they have no power over eminent domain, yet turns a blind eye when pipelines under their jurisdiction state they indeed get the power from the Commission. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in Denbury Green that “once a landowner challenges…., the burden falls upon the pipeline company to establish its common-carrier bona fides if it wishes to exercise the power of eminent domain”. So we asked TransCanada to produce their tariff rate schedule, a requirement of all Common Carriers and therefore part of proving the right of eminent domain. TransCanada’s attorney refused to provide anything, responding in court that tariffs will be provided “about the time it gets ready to transport product on the line”. That means they can’t even produce this proof they qualify as a Common Carrier until after the land is seized and the pipeline built. Furthermore, the Writ of Possession was granted by the Court and served on us before the ruling was even made on whether TransCanada can legally take our land. There is no question the process is riddled with loopholes and flaws, and Big Oil certainly wants to keep it this way.
Somehow, someway, things must change. If the courts will not address the problem, we will use our voices and votes to bring about change, and we will champion the cause with those who create the laws. Fortunately the dialogue in Austin has already begun, and we are deeply involved. As our more enlightened State leaders address the issues with open minds, they admit there are still problems with the eminent domain process. Thankfully they have begun the steps to shepherd change.
We may have lost this one battle here in Paris, Texas, but we are far from done. I will continue to proudly stand up for my own personal rights, the property rights of my family, and those of other Texans fighting to protect their land. Winston Churchill once said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”. The Crawfords, and those who bravely stand with us, have plenty of courage to continue this fight, no matter what it takes.
Judge Bill Harris Ruling:
My rulings as follows:
Transcanada’s MSJ is GRANTED
Transcanada’s NEMSJ is GRANTED
Crawford’s Plea to the Jurisdiction is DENIED
Mr. Freeman would you please forward orders consistent with my ruling for my signature?
Sent from my iPhone