Texas Landowner Files Appeal, Minnesota Tribal Members Occupy Pipeline

Ben Gotschall

In the hours before the State Department released its Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, pipeline fighters in other parts of the country were making statements of their own.

In Texas, Julia Trigg Crawford filed an appeal against TransCanada, saying that the pipeline company has no right to use eminent domain on her property because they are not a common carrier and because the pipeline will be for private economic gain.  A similar suit was overruled by a Texas judge in a 15-word statement sent on his iPhone in August of 2012.

While Julia’s case may seem unique to an oil state like Texas, it is just a foreshadowing of things to come in Nebraska if President Obama were to approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.  Julia is a rancher, a parent, and a pipeline fighter, just like many of the Nebraska landowners who have been opposing the Keystone XL for years now.  Her strength, smarts, and stubbornness is admirable, and although she may be an army of one in Texas, in Nebraska, the army is much bigger.  

In Nebraska, our landowners are every bit as committed to protecting their land, water, and property rights.  And there are many of us.  Through the efforts of organizations like the Nebraska Easement Action Team (NEAT), landowners in Nebraska are educated, united, and more than willing to do what it takes to make sure that they, not TransCanada, will set the terms that will determine their property’s future.  Our legislature would be wise to consider that when debating upcoming property rights bills in the unicameral.  President Obama would be wise to consider that when wondering what impact a possible approval of KXL would mean for the midwest.  We are here, we know our rights, and we are not backing down.  Julia has inspired us all.  We will continue our fight, and we will continue to support her.  You can support Julia by donating at this webiste:


You can also plan to attend the Big Trig Shindig on Julia’s ranch in Texas in April: 


In Minnesota, members of the Red Lake Nation have occupied an Enbridge pipeline that they say is crossing their land illegally.  In a press release put out Friday morning, tribal members say that the pipeline was built on their property without permission and has been trespassing on tribal land for over 50 years.  Also according to the press release, Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network said, “Enbridge Energy LP still does not have permission to have these pipelines” on an eight acre piece of Red Lake land just southeast of Leonard, Minnesota.

Marty is a strong pipeline fighter who has been to Nebraska to stand with farmers and ranchers in their fight against TransCanada.  He has been arrested side-by-side with Nebraskans in DC and we support him in his efforts.  These actions by the Red Lake Nation are not the last of what tribal communities will do to protect their homeland and their sacred sites.  In Nebraska, the Ponca Trail of Tears would be crossed several times by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.  That tribe has not been consulted by Nebraska’s DEQ, or by the State Department.  If governmental agencies continue to act without consideration for tribal rights, they will be met with fierce opposition, not only from the tribes, but from Nebraska landowners who are part of the New C.I.A. (Cowboy and Indian Alliance).

Opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline is growing, and the people who are in this fight are not backing down, and we’re not going anywhere.  We live here.  This is our home.  TransCanada and tarsands oil are not welcome here.


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