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TransCanada: Extreme Energy, Extreme Force, Extreme Silencing of Americans

NY Times journalists detained in handcuffs. 80 year-old woman lied to about eminent domain and forced to sign land contract. Politicians wined and dined with millions of dollars. Landowners forced to sign gag orders. Local officials told they can’t pass local laws limiting TransCanada powers. Farmers arrested for protecting their land. Citizens pepper sprayed.

Update 10/15/2012: The NY Times story ran over the weekend. We do not know why they chose not to include information on TransCanada handcuffing the journalists. Actions in TX continue to be heated. Over 50 Americans risking arrest this morning in acts of civil disobedience.

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Bold readers know we think tarsands is an unnecessary, extreme form of energy that will risk our land, water and property rights while giving America no energy security since their foreign tarsands is headed straight to the export market.

Bold readers know the extreme measures TransCanada has taken to get landowners to sign land contracts. We also know that TransCanada buys their way through small towns and entire states by spending tremendous amounts of money to lobby politicians and misled them into thinking its illegal if they pass any local or state laws to limit TransCanada’s overreach.

It is news to even us that TransCanada would go so extreme as to detain and handcuff two journalists from the NY Times.

NY Times Handcuffed by TransCanada:
Our American free press detained by a foreign corporation. How is this possible?

The NY Times is currently down in Texas covering the growing protests and landowners’ concerns over TransCanada’s extreme behavior. The journalists were given permission by a private American landowner to be on their land. TransCanada did not like this, so they had the journalists handcuffed. TransCanada is so arrogant that they are saying the reporters were “trespassing on their land.” The “their” land is an entire story too, but the journalists were not on part of TransCanada’s “easement” so they had no right to handcuff and detain them.

TransCanada is actually spinning other members of the press essentially saying “there is nothing to see here, these are not the droids you are looking for.” TransCanada is telling other press that this not a story because the reporters went on to land now owned by them and that is why they were handcuffed and detained.

A little background on the “their” land: TransCanada, in the contracts they often force landowners to sign, requires the landowner to give up rights to a certain part of their homeland, farms and ranches. That swath of land and its use are forever in the hands of TransCanada. Landowners literally have to sell part of their homeland to a foreign corporation. Evidently, TransCanada also gets to say who comes on “their” property even when its not “their” property.

NY Times Statement:
“While reporting a story on how protestors in East Texas are trying to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from being built, Dan [Frosch] and a Times photographer were detained yesterday by local police and a Trans Canada security guard; they were told for trespassing. They identified themselves as media and were released but told they needed to leave the private property where they had positioned themselves (with the permission of the landowner). They complied. -Eileen Murphy”

Our Questions:
We have some questions for TransCanada. Clearly they (or the local cops) will not answer us, so maybe some member of the press can get some response.

-On what authority do security personnel for a private firm detain journalists who are on private property with the permission of the landowner?

-On what bases were the NY Times staff detained and prevented from being on private property and who authorized the detention?

-What exactly is the relationship between TC and local law enforcement? What are the lines of communication?

-Is TC hiring current police or sheriff personnel during “off hours” as moonlighters?

-Do local law enforcement officers consult with TC officials in determining how to handle protestors or journalists?

TransCanada cares about nothing other than getting their risky pipeline in the ground so they can get their risky tarsands to the export market. That is their goal and they will not let citizens, ranchers, farmers, or even journalists get in their way.

Update, 10/11, 1:20pm, from landowner Susan Scott in TX:
Arthur Judge, a Wood County deputy sheriff, admitted to Texas landowner Susan Scott that TransCanada was paying the police by the hour to work private security details. “He was patrolling the [TransCanada] easement on my farm and he informed me that his mandate was to arrest anyone at anytime that sets foot on the easement,” attests Ms. Scott. “The officer also demanded that I show ID or he would arrest me, all this while I was standing on my own private property in the middle of the woods. TransCanada is ordering police to arrest me just for trying to take a walk across my own farm.”

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