Lamar Co. landowner challenges TransCanada

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PARIS, TX-Landowners and a former gubernatorial candidate rallied behind a Lamar county resident who's fighting a foreign company from building a pipeline through her land. The landowner questioned TransCanada's right to practice eminent domain on her property by proposing to build a pipeline that will run from Cushing, Oklahoma to Port Arthur.
Over 30 landowners from Nebraska to Austin got together at the Lamar County Courthouse Friday morning to protest the TransCanada pipeline.

"They tell those landowners that whether they want to come across or not, they're gonna come across, so they ought to just sign the agreement. That's wrong."

We Texans executive director, Debra Medina stood behind Lamar county resident, Julia Trigg Crawford, who refused to let TransCanada use a piece of her family's farm for the pipeline

"So yeah, it's two acres out of a 30 acre pasture but it's kinda like being kinda pregnant. You are or you aren't and they're taking a piece of our land and it could've been a square inch. We'd prolly still be in that courtroom," Crawford said.

Landowners packed the courtroom for the pre-trial. Both Crawford and TransCanada agreed to settle on a $10,000 stipulation on her property.

"It stings but the value of the land taken has never been our primary focus, it is the fact we don't believe they should even take it in the first place," said Crawford.

She said building the pipeline will cause more damage on her property.

"They're drilling under the creek where we have our water rights. It's certainly a huge concern of ours," she said.

"It will be the safest pipeline that we've ever been built. We agreed to 57 additional conditions on top of existing regulations, we agreed to increase the thickness," said TransCanada's David Dodson.

Crawford said it wasn't the first time her family has been approached for building pipelines. But in 2008, she said TransCanada refused to budge.

"The other two pipelines found another route. When TransCanada asked the same thing, we said 'can you find another way?' they said no," she said.

"The last we want to do is to be in court with landowners. That in almost all cases, we've reached voluntary agreement with landowners," said Dodson.

"Someone needs to be watching them and why is a landowner in court pushing back on TransCanada? Why isn't this part of a permitting process by an entity of the state?" asked Crawford.

The judge did not make a ruling Friday. TransCanada's federal permit is still pending.

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