December 19, 2012;
UPDATE: Michael Bishop vs. TransCanada
Today's scheduled Injunction Hearing was delayed for nearly thirty minutes while closed backroom discussions went on outside of the courtroom. When the court was finally called to order both sides were asked to provide written statements to the court as to whether the County Court of Law has jurisdiction over the case, or if the appropriate court would be at the district level.
While Michael Bishop informed the court that he would have his opinion ready by Monday, the 24th, TransCanada's lawyer stated that he would not have his brief prepared until the Monday after the beginning of the New Year. In effect, TransCanada was able to extend their time for construction and prevent the calling of witnesses by the plaintiff today.
December 13, 2012;
Michael Bishop vs. TransCanada
East Texas landowner, Michael Bishop, met TransCanada in Nacogdoches County District Court on Thursday, December 13, 2012. Judge Sinz had just days earlier granted Bishop a Temporary Restraining Order against TransCanada, halting all work on Bishop's land. Bishop claimed that TransCanada had coerced him into signing an agreement to provide them an easement for their Gulf Coast leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. His claims included charges of fraud for TransCanada's declaration that their pipeline would carry only crude oil or petroleum products and then saying that diluted tar sands bitumen (dilbit) was the same thing.
While the TRO was dissolved by Judge Sinz on the grounds that Bishop had already signed the contract for the easement, the Judge said that he would continue to consider the issues at a Permanent Injunction hearing on Wednesday of the following week.
Dozens of Nacogdcohes citizens and supporters turned out to pack the courtroom. Prior to the hearing they greeted both Bishop, and TransCanada's lawywer, James Freeman, as they arrived to the courthouse doors. Afterwards a rally formed in front of the courthouse.
- Michael Bishop speaks to the welcoming crowd.
- Doors were locked, so TransCanada's lawyer was forced to speak to media.
- Can you say "NO TOXIC TAR SANDS!"?
- Post-hearing rally.
- Bishop addresses the media.
(Photo courtesy John Mayo)
(Photo courtesy John Mayo)
(Photo courtesy John Mayo)
- NacSTOP spokesperson addresses the media.
- Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson addresses the media.
- Bishop thanks his supporters.
Except where indicated otherwise, photos by Steven DaSilva, email@example.com, all rights reserved.
December 3, 2012;
Special Edition: Outside Winona, in Smith County
December 1, 2012;
Nacogdoches Community Bake Sale and Bike Tour
November 20, 2012;
Special Edition: Cherokee County
November 19, 2012;
TransCanada's Threats to the Douglass Independent School District
November 6, 2012;
TransCanada's 57: Variations of the Same Ol' Stuff
October 31, 2012;
Tree Platforms Come To Nacogdoches
October 31, 2012;
Dr. Jill Stein, Presidential Green Party Candidate, Arrested at "Tree Village";
Known for her work on behalf of the environment, and for outspoken criticism of the two main party candidate's refusal to seriously discuss solutions to rampant climate change, Ms. Stein sought to show her support for the courageous individuals who are fighting the corporate promoters of tar sands exploitation. From the jillstein.org web page:
“Everyone needs to step up resistance to climate-killing emissions,” said Stein, who was willing to risk arrest in order to show solidarity for this blockade. “Romney and Obama are only talking about the symptoms of climate change in terms of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy; the blockaders are addressing the cause.”
Ms. Stein successfully resupplied the tree-sitters who remain on platforms and in trees 40 to 80 feet above the ground. She was then unceremoniously arrested by what appeared to be TransCanada's hired law enforcement personel while pipe welders stopped what they were doing to watch.
-Dr. Jill Stein records her pre-action statement.
-Supplies on rope...
-...on their way up...
-TransCanada's punishment for a successful resupply of the tree-sitters.
Photos contributed by Steven DaSilva, firstname.lastname@example.org, all rights reserved.
October 16, 2012;
Texas F.M. 2088: An Epic Tar Sands Pipeline Protest
October 12, 2012;
Who is the Real Eco-terrorist?
When the whiff of TransCanada's ability to make mockeries of our governmental entities and supress media coverage to allow and protect their strictly profit-motivated exploits is detected, holding one's nose is not enough to overcome the stench. From the apparent hoodwinking of judges to the seemingly unlimited control over local law enforcement, to the alleged recruitment of the FBI, TransCanada appears to have manipulated our legal system to stifle honest and valid opposition. All the while their public relations spinmeisters feed the mainstream media so much pablum that truthful news rarely reaches the general public.
So now there is the slanderous label of "eco-terrorist" being applied to the likes of the 78-year-old, east-Texas great-grandmother, Ms. Eleanor Fairchild. Yes, the feisty woman who dared to stand on her own land, in front of machines that were tending the fires where her cut trees were burning has, according to Ms. Fairchild, been identified as an eco-terrorist in a lawsuit and restraining order filed against her by TransCanada. Like many other landowners in the path of the KXL pipeline, she had been told that the slash left from the cutting of her trees was to be chipped and shredded and returned to the soil. What followed is summarized at the Fairchild Farm Rebellion link. The question arises, then, how is Ms. Fairchild, who was married to a Texas oilman for 50 years, and has lived out on her rural farm raising cattle and hay for 30 years, earned from TransCanada's legal team the title "eco-terrorist?
According to 'Wikipedia', eco-terrorism "usually refers to acts of violence or sabotage committed in support of ecological, environmental, or animal rights causes against persons or their property". The same 'Wikipedia' page states that the FBI defines it as "the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against people or property by an environmentally oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature." So, TransCanada seems to be saying that Ms. Fairchild committed an act of violence against the machines or their operators by placing her body in front of them as they carried out TransCanada's lies for them. Violence?!
Ms. Fairchild was simply making a statement about TransCanada's continuing untruths and the fact that she was tired of it. Furthermore, since the work being done on the easement that day was to tend to the already burning fires, the fact that she halted the machines for one hour had no effect on the ability of the fires to keep burning. Was violence perpetrated agains the machines? No. Was violence perpetrated against the machine operators? No. In fact, Ms. Fairchild was heard to say to the operator who stopped his machine and climbed out of it, "I'm just giving you a break." All the while the fires kept burning.
The violence being perpetrated here was not, and has not been, coming from Ms. Fairchild. She is not the one who cut a 110-ft (plus) swath through a 100-year-old oak and hickory upland ecosystem. She is not the one who plowed across two wetland areas on her property. She is not the one who wants to pump toxic tar sands slurry at high pressure through thin-walled pipe from India, and bury that pipe in the sandy recharge zone of the regional aquifer and headwaters of the Cypress River. She is not the one committing acts of violence on her's and other's properties, and delivering the threat of ecological violence to the area for decades to come.
No, Eleanor Fairchild is not an eco-terrorist; she is not a criminal at all. The terrorist at hand right here in east Texas is not of the "eco" type, it's just a plain ol', white collar variety: TransCanada would seem to fit the bill quite well. You can bet your bottom dollar, though, that they'll continue to call names and spin their stories in hopes that the mainstream media doesn't catch a whiff. And meanwhile, their high-priced legal whizzes will continue to pull the government's strings and get away with slandering innocent citizens for as long as the citizenry allows it.
October 4, 2012;
Fairchild Farm Rebellion
Ms. Eleanor Fairchild has had to deal with TransCanada's bullying tactics and other inconsiderate behaviors since the time that her husband was dying. They pressured her to sign their contract to come onto her land even while she was still grieving over his death. Now, years later, they've come onto her land, even though she never signed a contract with them. Some of her story and pictures of things that have happened on her property can be viewed at THIS LINK.
October 3, 2012;
Photos from the Front
Since the last posting numerous events have ocurred at various points along the Keystone XL pipeline path. Receiving updated information and photographs from our travelling people on the ground has been spotty. Many of the events were not covered due to the logistical limitations of being in the field.
This LINK will take you to the latest available pictures from the area. The stories behind the images will be forthcoming.
September 25, 2012; Who's Pulling the Strings Here?!
In retrospect, it is interteresting, but very disconcerting, to see the apparent connection between a foreign, multinational corporation, and local law enforcement. Is TransCanada making the decisions for the various counties' Sheriff Departments as to what their role will be when they are called to respond to a lockdown or protest rally? Evidence indicates that this is exactly what is happening.
At the site of the pipe truck lockdown in Polk County back on August 28th, Sheriff's deputies discussed using pepper spray on the protestors. Once TransCanada's man on the ground arrived, and a flurry of phone calls were made, presumably with the corporate higher-ups, the decision was made to not implement that form of pain compliance.
In Hopkins County, on September 5th, TransCanada's representative was on site much more quickly, arriving before the first Sheriff's deputy. Calls were then made and conversations with the corporate offices ensued. The result was a free day for the union labor and a day free of visits by the blockaders to the justice system's edifices. TransCanada's men went so far as to demonstrate their humanity by cautioning the lingering protestors of the need to stay hydrated during the 100o day.
The following day, Franklin County's law enforcement arrived at the Hightower Vineyard where a protest rally had unfolded. Standing on the highway right-of-way, protestors held banners and signs, and waved to passing traffic. To their surprise, the deputies asked them to remain vigilant of the traffic and even provided day-glo vests to the group. TransCanada, after all, is very concerned about their image.
It would appear that because TransCanada is so concerned about the way the public perceives this multinational corporation they have changed their tactics. On September 19th those same Franklin County officers who were thoughtful enough to provide the vests earlier came into the FM 3347 lockdown with a slightly different attitude. The same TransCanada rep who was at the previous lockdown left the Hightower Vineyard where he was spotted sitting in his truck at 7:30 a.m., and showed up at this new location. After pulling into the easement and past the machines where the three blockaders were secured, he got out and immediately phoned his corporate superiors. Finished with receiving instructions, he got back into his truck and moved it beside the de-barking machine where one of the blockaders sat, effectively minimizing the view from the observers on the scene. When the deputies arrived they immediately told all three of the observers to leave. Retreating to public property on the highway right-of-way opposite the pipeline easement, the three stood and watched the unfolding activity. With notification of additional activities occurring elsewhere, one of the observers left the scene. Minutes later the remaining two observers, standing behind a Sheriff's Department truck, were arrested for "obstruction of a highway right-of-way."
Thus TransCanada was able to remove any potential for illuminating the facts and adversely affecting their public relations. Later that same day, at a rally back at the vineyard, the same county officers confiscated a banner and threatened the protestors with arrest. Rest assured that this is only the start of TransCanada's ratcheting up of their abuses. Stay tuned to learn more about this uptick in abusiveness as news of today's earlier action becomes available.
The question arises,then; who's pulling the strings here? We have become the "third world country" that has been stepped on and spit upon by this multinational, multi-billion-dollar corporate bully. Our democratic and constitutional sensibility has been relegated to the trash heap of passing cultural fads now that these same corporate entities have been given a heartless, Frankensteinish personhood. TransCanada will continue to manipulate the system to maximize its profits while maintaining its public relations facade. TransCanada will continue to pull the strings and call the shots as long as they can get away with it. So, the other question that arises: when will YOU stand up, speak out, and say "ENOUGH!"?
September 24, 2012; In the Trees to Stop TransCanada
Special Tree Village Tar Sands Blockade Edition:
September 19, 2012; Franklin Rolls Over
Photos from the Franklin County Sheriff's Department Crackdown on a Lockdown:
September 18, 2012; Buying Silence
In an attempt to stem the groundswell of public disgust with a corporation that would bulldoze an Air Force veteran's retirement vineyard, TransCanada has in essence offered to buy the silence of the vineyard's owner. TransCanada first offered to transplant the vines, but anyone who knows anything about transplanting eleven-year-old grape vines knows that the roots have spread far beyond the stems that have been meticulously pruned back. These same vines are anything but dormant, either, so their chances of survival would be minimal.
Word has it that TransCanada acquiesced to Mr. Hightower's estimate of the monetary damages to the Muscadine vines that have for years provided for production of jams, jellies, and wine. He was quite aware that his land was going to be cleared by TransCanada, regardless. TransCanada's payment for damages to his vineyard does not change the fact that they could easily have moved their Keystone XL pipeline path off of his property in the first place. So much for the sanctity of ownership and stewardship of land.
September 7, 2012; Hightower Vineyard Blockade Edition
More photos from the Hightower vineyard: LINK HERE
September 6, 2012; Saltillo Blockade Edition
More photos from the Saltillo blockade: LINK HERE
September 5, 2012; Somewhere Near Saltillo, Tx.
On a day that eventually was to reach a temperature of 100+o, work was halted on the Keystone Xl pipeline by a small band of dedicated Blockaders who shut down the machinery being used to clear the trees in TransCanada's wrong-of-way. Once again TransCanada's mouthpiece spouted untruths about them not planning on using the equipment that day anyway. Evidence to the contrary was afforded by those very employees of the foreign corporation who showed up ready to work. They arrived that morning for work only to be turned away by their superiors. Their was nothing they could work with while the Blockaders were locked down to their equipment.
An enlightening view of an additional untruth spouted by TransCanada over the past four years to sell their tar sands pipeline was the parade of license plates on the vehicles that drove in that morning to work. Remember all of the talk about local jobs along the pipeline route? Well, spotted (but not necessarily photographed) that morning were at least eight different out-of-state license plates on the trucks coming in to work. Seems like TransCanada failed to adequately inform the local job seekers that most of the jobs to be had were already filled by out-of-state people.
Sorry, folks. Local work, just not jobs for local workers.
August 30, 2012; Convenient Untruths
After the Tar Sands Blockade's successful lock-down on a TransCanada pipe hauling truck(1a), TransCanada's silver-tounged spokesperson, David Dodson, said the protestors have it all wrong. At Lufkin-Nacogdoches' ABC affiliate, KTRE, Alexis Spears quotes Dodson as conveniently saying, “the project does not include tar sands...”
It's convenient that TransCanada's original Keystone XL plans were shot down back in November of 2011. Those plans stated that the goal of the pipeline was to carry diluted tar sands bitumen from the open pit, tar sands mines of Alberta, Canada, to the re-tooled refineries on the Texas gulf coast. Those same refineries have spent millions of dollars to prepare for the refining of the heavy dilbit crude that TransCanada will be transporting through its pipes.
It's convenient that TransCanada has cut the project into two parts and renamed the southern part “the Gulf Coast Project.” That smoke-and-mirrors move was made to cloud the issue. With it they could pretend that it would just be picking up and transporting good old conventional crude from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Nederland, Texas. They could also ignore the EPA's concerns about the blanket waterbody-crossing permits (the only permits needed) which TransCanada was seeking from the Army Corps of Engineers; after all, they argue, the EPA was referring to the Keystone XL, not the Gulf Coast Project. Truth be told, TransCanada already has a smaller diameter pipeline that carries tar sands crude to Cushing: the combination Keystone 1 & Steel City (Nebraska)-to-Cushing Extension, so it's just a matter of connecting.
It's convenient that all TransCanada needs to do now is maintain the misinformation stream in order to slide their pipeline under the radar through Texas. Days before the judge's final ruling in the Crawford Family's contest against TransCanada's common carrier claim and eminent domain status, TransCanada misinformed the press that the judge had ruled for TransCanada, and even argued in court that tar sands crude is the same as conventional crude, even though it is treated as something extraordinary for tax (evasion) purposes. Years before even that hearing TransCanada misinformed Texas landowners that they already had all of their permits in place. Remember the jobs claims (20,000+) TransCanada and the bought-and-paid-for Senators and Representatives tried to sell? Their misinformation stream spurts out like the leaks in their original Keystone 1 pipeline, but not to worry because the new one won't leak like that either. Just ask Mr. Dodson.
The courageous citizens that stopped TransCanada's pipes are under no illusions from TransCanada's convenient untruths. Texas would be well served if more people waved away TransCanada's smoke, cleared their minds, and stood up for the truth. Texas would be better served if more people joined the Tar Sands Blockade in demanding an end to TransCanada's self-serving conveniences.
August 29, 2012; Special Blockade Edition
August 25, 2012; East Texas Observer
A recent video was provided to the Post by the East Texas Observer that gives us a glimpse of what is happening outside of Corrigan, Texas.
Tracking the venomous KXL snake in the piney woods of deep east Texas.
August 24, 2012; Deep East Texas
The East Texas Observer, in reaction to Judge Harris' recent ruling for TransCanada, wrote the following recollection of events on the day of the hearing.
How Much to Buy a Judge?
I am not normally a suspicious person. However, after attending Julia Trigg Crawford's hearing on the right of TransCanada to seize her property through eminent domain, I have to wonder: How much does it cost to buy a judge?
Three of us arrived in the Judge Bill Harris's small courtroom an hour early on the morning of August 10. TransCanada's legal team were the only other folks in the room. We sat quietly for a few minutes, and then Judge Harris arrived. He and the legal team exchanged pleasantries, and seemed on very familiar terms. After a few laughs together, they seemed to realize that we were sitting there. At that point Judge Harris invited all 5 members of the team to join him in a room off to the side, where we continued to hear them visiting and laughing together for some time.
Around 9:30 the room started to get full. Although there was a larger courtroom available, we were to be in the small courtroom, which sat around 18-20 people. Eventually around 50 folks (mainly supporters of Julia Trigg Crawford) were in the courtroom. Most had to stand or sit on the floor, including one 78-year old woman to my immediate left. There were numerous elderly people who stood throughout this hearing. Walking past the larger courtroom at various times that day, we observed it was either empty or had only a handful of people in it, so one has to wonder why that room was not being used for this hearing.
Judge Harris lectured those gathered to stand/sit quietly, and not to leave the room with expectations of being allowed back in. Some did have to use the restroom in spite of the Judge telling them not to leave the courtroom, and after a few were outside the bailiff, without announcement or fanfare, locked the courtroom doors.
Judge Harris also told all present to turn off their cell phones, and said that if a cell phone went off, the bailiff would take up the phone. The only phone that did go off belonged to TransCanada's spokesperson, David Dodson, who had been present for the warning. The bailiff, upon hearing the phone, headed over. When he realized whose phone it was, he went back to the front of the room without taking it up.
At two different times during the proceedings, Judge Harris referred to the visitors in the courtroom as "rude". This in spite of the fact that everyone present stood/sat silently and respectfully at all times. His squeaky courtroom doors, along with the acoustically challenged and overcrowded courtroom space were apparently enough to ruffle his feathers.
After being in the courtroom for several hours, Judge Harris announced a break. After a short while, he ordered the bailiff to lock the courtroom door. This was not announced beforehand to the people who had not come back into the room. Perhaps he forgot that there was only one stall in each of the men's and women's restrooms on this floor of the courthouse?
The folks who were locked out were most unhappy, and pulled on the door. When someone left the courtroom, one of the locked out came back in. The judge lectured her harshly and sarcastically. An older man, who could no longer stand, went and sat down on the steps between the two rows of seats. Again, the judge stopped the proceedings to lecture him on moving in the courtroom.
James Freeman, the head lawyer for TransCanada, spoke first- and continued to speak for many hours. Judge Harris was attentive throughout. When Wendi Hammond, Julia's lawyer, had a turn, she spoke for less than an hour. Judge Harris seldom looked up while she was speaking. Instead, he appeared to be reading through documents in notebooks. When Wendi finished, the judge addressed her critically and asked if she meant by her words that no oil company whose product did not originate in Texas should be allowed to transport across Texas. She had at no time made any statement to this affect, or even insinuated this. Despite the fact that James Freeman made the claim that the KXL pipeline would also be transporting West Texas crude, the judge never questioned this- in spite of the fact that this pipeline will have no on/off openings between Cushing, Ok. and the Texas coast to make this feasible.
I look back on this day in spent standing in Judge Bill Harris's small courtroom and again, I have to wonder. What was the price for his ruling? I know what the cost will be for Julia Trigg Crawford- and for all other Texas landowners.
East Texas Observer
August 23, 2012; Polk County
South of the Neches River, in northern Polk County outside of Corrigan, TransCanada's crews continue their pipeline-building activity. During the week since the previous photos were taken (see August 15 below) many more pieces of heavy equipment have been moved into place. Some are already being used to trench, as seen on the southern end of Farm to Market Road 1987. Pipes continue to be brought in and some are being stored at the equipment yard at the north end of FM 1987 at Highway 59.
-trenching at south end of FM 1987, northeast of Corrigan
-heavy equipment at northern end of FM 1987 & Highway 59 contractor yard
-36" diameter pipes
August 22, 2012; Lamar County
From his own personal iPhone in the comfort of a citizen-less venue, Judge Harris announced his decision regarding Julia Trigg Crawford's injunction against TransCanada's common carrier status claims.
"My rulings as follows:
TransCanada's MSJ is GRANTED
TransCanada's NEMSJ is GRANTED
Crawford's Plea to the Jurisdiction is DENIED"
Aren't iPhones & anonymity great?!
August 22, 2012; addendum
Statement by Julia Trigg Crawford
Anyone following this case knows my family and I were in it to win, so of course we are incredibly disappointed in today's ruling....Disappointed that Judge Harris wholly dismissed our entire case with a 15 word ruling sent from his iPhone....Disheartened that Texas landowners must still challenge oil corporations in court on what should be State-level permitting issues....and Disturbed that a foreign corporation like TransCanada is allowed to hide behind the skirt of the Texas Railroad Commission and its Common Carrier rubber stamp.
It is absolutely unbelievable to me eminent domain abuse continues in Texas given the revelations made during our court case. With every turn we found black holes of responsibility, endless loops of (non)accountability, and the cart miles in front of the horse. The Texas Railroad Commission says they have no power over eminent domain, yet turns a blind eye when pipelines under their jurisdiction state they indeed get the power from the Commission.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled in Denbury Green that "once a landowner challenges...., the burden falls upon the pipeline company to establish its common-carrier bona fides if it wishes to exercise the power of eminent domain". So we asked TransCanada to produce their tariff rate schedule, a requirement of all Common Carriers and therefore part of proving the right of eminent domain. TransCanada's attorney refused to provide anything, responding in court that tariffs will be provided "about the time it gets ready to transport product on the line". That means they can't even produce this proof they qualify as a Common Carrier until after the land is seized and the pipeline built. Furthermore, the Writ of Possession was granted by the Court and served on us before the ruling was even made on whether TransCanada can legally take our land. There is no question the process is riddled with loopholes and flaws, and Big Oil certainly wants to keep it this way.
Somehow, someway, things must change. If the courts will not address the problem, we will use our voices and votes to bring about change, and we will champion the cause with those who create the laws. Fortunately the dialogue in Austin has already begun, and we are deeply involved. As our more enlightened State leaders address the issues with open minds, they admit there are still problems with the eminent domain process. Thankfully they have begun the steps to shepherd change.
We may have lost this one battle here in Paris, Texas, but we are far from done. I will continue to proudly stand up for my own personal rights, the property rights of my family, and those of other Texans fighting to protect their land. Winston Churchill once said "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts". The Crawfords, and those who bravely stand with us, have plenty of courage to continue this fight, no matter what it takes.
Julia Trigg Crawford
Farm Manager, Red'Arc Farm
August 15, 2012; Deep East Texas
Construction activity has begun while East Texans continue to express displeasure and disgust with TransCanada's disregard for where we live.
TransCanada's is but a short-sighted and temporary investment in this region. Those who support TransCanada's actions are only interested in temporary gain, as well. The long-term ramifications are of no concern when there is no concern for the future of east Texas.
The story has it that construction began on August 9th, near Livingston, but Julia Trigg Crawford's pretrial hearing in Paris contesting TransCanada's common carrier status was not held until the 10th.
Maybe that explains the apparent camaraderie in Judge Harris' courtroom, both before and during the hearing, between the Judge and TransCanada's lawyer, Mr.Freeman: they both knew the pipeline was a done deal.
Maybe that's why Judge Harris announced at the beginning of the hearing that he would not make a decision that day, and yet a statement later that day by TransCanada was that the judge had ruled in their favor.
Maybe that's why Judge Harris is waiting to actually rule for TransCanada when he can do so away from the citizens in his courtroom.
Travesties of justice.... Corporate and judicial fraud, and the citizens of East Texas are left to clean it up.
-Sign of the Times
-Contractor yard visible from Hwy 59 immediately south of FM 1987
-FM 1987 entrance to KXL contractor yard
-Protecting our own
-TransCanada is NOT welcome in Nacogdoches County!
August 10, 2012; Lamar County, Texas
Summary of Julia Trigg Crawford's "Common Carrier" hearing (contributing writer).
The hearing was long and frustrating. Early on the judge announced that he would rule next week or the week after. The judge was very deferential to TransCanada's five expensively dressed lawyers who dominated the morning testimony. When Julia's lawyer Wendi Hammond spoke after lunch, the judge was rude and demeaning; interrupting them, and at one point even calling Wendi's argument 'absurd'. It wasn't. Wendi is a very good lawyer--never shaken, always calm, reasonable, and never straying from her message. Julia was pleased afterward. No matter how the judge rules, it looks like Wendi has laid the grounds for an appeal.
The small courtroom was packed---half of the spectators stood through the whole hearing, which lasted all day, with the exception of a lunch break and 2 five-minute breaks. After the first break, the judge, without announcement, had the bailiff lock the courtroom doors, leaving quite a few people outside. They were quite unhappy and let the judge know it--- and though he continued to lock the door after each break, the bailiff at least announced each time that court was beginning again and gave people time to enter before he locked them out. (Of course, if you left to use the restroom or because you needed to sit down, you could not return.) Another blatant show of favoritism for TransCanada. The crowd had been very considerate, especially considering the uncomfortable circumstances.
Lots of press---NY Times, Wall St. Journal, Dallas observer, CBS, a few more. They did let reporters bring cameras in to the courtroom.
Again, nothing was decided, but Ms. Hammond built a good case against the common carrier status of TransCanada and most likely has grounds for appeal.
We had a delicious potluck meal and good fellowship at Julia's ranch after, with the Crawford family, STOP members, Tea party supporters, folks from Public Citizen and Sierra Club, landowners and some others--a diverse group come together to share a meal, to support one another, and to stand together for justice against overwhelming odds.
It was a long day, really tiring, absolutely worth it.
February 17, 2012; Paris, Texas
Dozens of patriotic citizens turned out on a cool, blustery, February morning in Paris to show their support. Tran$Canada claims its Keystone XL pipeline is a common carrier. That means it is for the public good. What the facts show is that KXL is a way for a foreign corporation to ship its tar sands dilbit to Texas refineries in a tax-free, foreign-trade zone. Their caustic crude is destined for foreign markets.
Tran$Canda wants to begin trenching on Julia's family's land A.S.A.P., so they've condemned her land using eminent domain arguments. Even the Railroad Commission has said that just because a commercial entity has claimed common carrier status does not mean they have authorization to use eminent domain.
Stay tuned for more on Julia's plight. Tran$Canada has shown they will bully and run roughshod over landowners to get their way, even though their PR people would have you believe otherwise.
Images copyright Steven DaSilva, at email@example.com.
-Sunrise at Red'Arc