Keystone XL —- Texans Take Fight to Austin

Pipeline Opponents Take Fight to Austin. Opponents of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline addressed lawmakers Thursday morning in Austin. Members of the “S.T.O.P. Tar Sands” group invited state representatives and senators to a briefing at the capitol. The lawmakers who were there represent the various districts Keystone XL is expected to run through. They heard pleas for help from people who have been fighting TransCanada for years. “This pipeline is really unprecedented,” said Brittany Dawn McAllister with S.T.O.P. “There are no tar sands pipelines in East Texas or in Texas at all right now.” McAllister says the group is treading on untested water as it fights to stop Keystone XL. She says lawmakers were curious about what TransCanada has been telling land owners about the company’s plans. “We also covered the eminent domain, safety, water and air concerns that we have for this pipeline,” McAllister said. Eminent domain was the main focus in the briefing room. Wood county land owner David Daniel shared his experience — first fighting, and then settling, with TransCanada’s land buyers. “The experience is very intimidating,” Daniel said. “Most people don’t have the resources to hire an attorney. I didn’t have the resources to hire an attorney.” Earlier this month the Texas senate passed a new eminent domain bill. S.T.O.P. members say it leaves the door open for private business to forcibly take your land. “There are elements that will protect land owners that do have eminent domain used against them,” Daniel said. “But 98 percent of landowners do not have eminent domain used against them.” Instead, Daniel says he and others have settled after months of strong-arm tactics. Under current law, they’re categorized as successful agreements. “Being classified as a successful agreement is a mis-representation as far as I’m concerned.” It’s a message the group wants lawmakers to share in the halls of the capitol. “They should know land owners in their districts are being harassed and their rights are being taken away by a foreign company.” None of the lawmakers in today’s meeting would commit to speaking out against the Keystone XL project. ((18 FEB 2011))









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