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*Stand With Julia*
Appellate Court Decision Rules on Crawford Condemnation on Keystone XL Pipeline
The 6th Appellate Court ruled against the Crawford family in their condemnation case against TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Despite the ruling, the family has decided to move their appeal up to the Texas Supreme Court.
"We certainly disagree with the Appellate Court's ruling, and we fully intend to appeal this decision to the Texas Supreme Court," commented Wendi Hammond, attorney for the Crawford family farm partnership. "At this time, I cannot comment as to the exact points for appeal; however, I expect it will certainly include a request for further scrutiny of the Texas law to determine whether TransCanada actually qualifies as a common carrier."
"As shown by the Denbury case, the Texas Supreme Court has demonstrated great courage and willingness to overturn lower courts' decisions to protect Texas citizens from abuse of eminent domain laws by private corporations," commented Julia Trigg Crawford. “We will continue our fight because the Keystone XL pipeline is all risk and no reward for my family and those Texans like us.”
“We have always seen our appellate case as a stepping stone to a higher court by which to resolve this matter,” added Crawford. “We see this ruling as just another part of our journey in the process.” Julia Trigg continued, "TransCanada is a foreign corporation using weak eminent domain laws to take property for their own private gain from hard-working Texans. Eminent domain was never intended for this purpose. As a landowner and an American, I support energy independence, but I value our individual and constitutional freedoms more than anything else. I’m continuing my stand for freedom from strangers on our land and freedom from my family’s land being taken from faceless, foreign corporations for their own private greed."
“In addition to the appeal, our next steps will focus on asking our legislators and fellow citizens to hold public hearings on eminent domain and expose the risks these pipelines pose to those like us living along the routes,” Crawford concluded. “Together we will ask our officials to change the laws that have so far left hundreds of Texans with no other recourse than to go to the courthouse as we have done. Our case is emblematic of those American landowners whose constitutional assurances have been trampled and we will continue to stand up for our rights.”
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who stands with us. It will take all of us linking arms to bring about change.
Julia Trigg Crawford
Please Stay Tuned to Ongoing Developments
“There’s no such thing as a voluntary agreement with a company or government that has the power to take your property,”
—Bill Peacock, vice president for the Texas Public Policy Foundation
In Direct, Texas (a little bitty town near Paris, in NE Texas), farm manager Julia Trigg Crawford manages a 600-acre farm that’s been in her family since 1948. Canadian pipeline company, TransCanada, threatens her family’s health and their farm that is adjacent to the Red River.
Mega-corporation, TransCanada, the company proposing the Keystone XL project, wants to seize parts of the Crawford’s land to build a 36” pipeline that will pump corrosive tar sands -- at a pressure far higher than conventional oil – down to refineries in South Texas. When TransCanada came knocking to try and buy the Crawford family land, Julia Trigg did not want to sell.
“One of my first concerns was, to go the path they had planned, they had to horizontally drill under the creek that I have water rights to... I didn’t exactly want this sludge being pumped underneath the creek.”
—Julia Trigg Crawford
After the Crawford family refused to sell to TransCanada, the next step for this foreign company was to condemn their land. They legally had the power to do this because – and you’re not going to believe this – they simply checked a box on a “T4” form for the Texas Railroad Commission (the body that regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas) that says ‘common carrier.’ Common carrier status carries with it the power of eminent domain – the right to seize property. Meanwhile, the Railroad Commission openly states that they have no regulatory authority to make sure that a private company does not abuse the power of eminent domain. And, guess what, the Commission filed an amicus letter stating that they wanted to keep things the way they are.
Julia Trigg Crawford is a 6’0” former star basketball player for Texas A&M – the Governor’s alma mater. So far, the Governor and our two US Senators, Cornyn and Hutchison, are siding with TransCanada and apparently see no problem with the abuse of eminent domain in Texas.
The point is that ordinary Texans do see a real problem with eminent domain and they are standing behind Julia Trigg Crawford and her family.
Make TransCanada Prove Its Common Carrier Status!
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The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled in Texas Rice Land vs. Denbury Green decision that the T-4 permit granted by the Railroad Commission does not conclusively establish eminent-domain power. Ruling in favor of the Texas rice farmers, the court stated:
“Private property cannot be imperiled with such nonchalance, via an irrefutable presumption created by checking a certain box on a one-page government form. Our constitution demands far more.”
“The Railroad Commission’s process for handling T-4 permits appears to be one of registration, not of application... No hearing is held, no evidence is presented, no investigation is conducted.”
Stand Up with Julia Trigg Crawford and Her Family to Save Their Land
Julia Trigg and her family refused to settle with TransCanada. When TransCanada asked a judge to condemn their land, they pointed to their T-4 permit to prove their common carrier status. If checking a box does not conclusively establish eminent domain power, then TransCanada took the Crawford family’s land before they ever had to show proof of fulfilling the legal requirements of a public pipeline.
Donate to the Crawford Legal Defense Fund
The Crawford family has decided to fight the oil giant TransCanada for their land and for the rights of all property owners in Texas. Stand with them against corporate bullies that use unconstitutional legal loopholes to steal land from Texas property owners. This fight will be long and costly – please donate to the Crawford Family Legal Defense Fund today.
100% of the funds collected on
this site are going to support the Crawford Family Defense Fund and
will be used to aid them in their fight against eminent domain abuse by
TransCanada. Your donation is not tax deductible. For questions
concerning this fund, contact the overseer Calvin Tillman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STAND TALL: a SUCCESS!
April 20th brought a full day
music festival here on our farm. Thanks to the dedicated help of many
friends the event went on without a hitch.
Many thanks to everyone who came
out to enjoy a great day of great music and camaraderie while
supporting our family's fight to protect our land.
To view a slideshow of the event click HERE