While Washington lobbyists continue to push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, activists have taken the fight to their backyards.
In January, President Obama rejected Alberta-based TransCanada’s proposal to build a pipeline from Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. But in February, the company announced that while it reapplied for a permit, it would go ahead with construction of the pipeline’s southern leg. This project didn’t cross any international borders, and so didn’t need White House approval – but it has sparked local resistance.
That’s how the oil giant found itself in a legal battle with a farmer outside the town of Direct, Texas. Julia Trigg Crawford owns 30 acres along the pipeline’s route, and – after rejecting a $20,000 offer from TransCanada – requested a restraining order to prevent construction on her property. She has won a court date in April to argue that TransCanada lacks standing to declare eminent domain. In an e-mail, Trigg Crawford said a decision last year by the Texas Supreme Court put “the burden of proof … on the pipeline. We feel good about our case.”