Lamar Co. land owner fighting back

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

LAMAR COUNTY, TX -- Two weeks after a Lamar county judge ruled the Gulf Coast Extension, formerly the Keystone XL pipeline, can cross over a local woman's land, she says she's not done fighting.

Julia Trigg Crawford's family has owned this land in Lamar county since 1948, and she says she isn't giving up any of it to TransCanada.

"They're not taking the whole pasture, but a piece out of the pasture. But nonetheless, you know, if it was one square inch we'd still be fighting," Crawford said.

On August 22, a Lamar county judge ruled TransCanada is a common carrier and has right-of-way to construct the pipeline on Crawford's land. Being a common carrier means the property is available to the public for use.

Crawford plans to appeal the judge's ruling within the next two weeks.

"Our push back is becoming a common carrier in Texas is an absolute rubber stamp that the Texas railroad commission does. If you go in and fill out the paperwork and check the box, they're going to rubber stamp you as a common carrier and then kind of turn their head when you pick up the club of eminent domain and take land," Crawford said.

She says she's confident about taking it to the appellate court.

"Three experienced judges who are familiar with dealing with issues of this magnitude and visibility. Because you know, this is an issue that was bigger than what Paris had you know probably ever seen in a court case," Crawford said.

Crawford isn't the only one fighting TransCanada. On Wednesday morning near Saltillo, Texas, just southeast of Sulphur Springs, three protesters tied themselves to logging equipment clearing trees for the southern portion of the Gulf Coast Extension.

"Constantly we hear about tar sand pipelines breaking, major spills," protester Gary Stuard said.

"It's not just polluting your neighbor's river. That river effects your land. It goes across where you live," protester Shannon Beebe said.

Like the protesters, Crawford is worried about the environmental effects the pipeline will have on the water she uses to irrigate her land. She's also concerned about the Caddo Indian artifacts on the property.

Crawford says she'll do everything she can to protect her land rights.

"We're willing to go all the way to the Texas Supreme Court and there is a lot of talk right now that this case should go that far. And we'll take it that far if we can fund it," Crawford said.

A TransCanada spokesperson says they will have a comment once they receive the actual notice of appeal.

If the pipeline is constructed, it will carry oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.


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