Rancher Julia Trigg Crawford is fighting mega-corporation TransCanada’s attempt to drive a tar sands-pumping pipeline through her property.
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.