There’s so much happening, our heads are swirling!
First, please MARK YOUR CALENDAR to come to Paige, Texas, on Saturday, May 3rd for an event held by the new League of Independent Voters ot Texas. Details soon! Here’s the news:
DALLAS: We’re thrilled that Eric Williams stepped up to run as an independent (non-affiliated) for U.S. Congress challenging Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX 30th District). (There will be no Republican on the ballot in November.) Read this. MARK YOUR CALENDAR to meet us and Eric at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 19th at the Breath of Righteousness Christian Fellowship Church, 370 W. Pleasant Run Rd., Lancaster. Look for the campaign bus. You might come ready to help get some petitions signed for Eric’s access to the ballot!
CENTRAL TEXAS: Forestar Real Estate Group has sued the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, including most of its Board members individually. Talk about sour grapes! Read more here from Environmental Stewardship and please MARK YOUR CALENDAR for the next meeting — in Giddings, 7 pm, Wednesday, April 16th, location TBA.
AUSTIN: Save Our Springs Alliance’s, Bill Bunch, tells us that current lame ducks on the Travis County Commission goosed forward, with $15M, the controversial toll road (SH45) over the sensitive and fast re-charging Edwards Aquife. More here. Please sign up at ChangeAustin.org to follow indy news in Austin.
NE TEXAS: Farmer Shirley Shumake sounded the alarm that, yes, it’s back — the Marvin Nichols Reservoir — thwarting local control once again! The “new & improved” (that’s a joke) Texas Water Development Board is trying to resurrect (with Prop 6 money passed last November) the wasteful Marvin Nichols Reservoir involving 70,000 acres and 50 miles of the Sulphur River. Please read this from Janice Benzanson (Texas Conservation Alliance), then send your comments in to the TWDB before May 2. We’ll keep reminding you.
THE STATE: Our too-honest-for-the-Republican-Party-machine and friend, Debra Medina, is putting years of efforts on hold for now, to take care of things at home. She has a very small campaign debt she’d like to retire, so if you’d like to help, please do so right here and no donation is too small.
THE WORLD: We regret to report that Julia Trigg Crawford and Family’s appeal to
the Texas Supreme Court was denied. The Crawford’s challenged TransCanada’s right to take their land through eminent domain for the Keystone XL pipeline has been denied. The high court had nothing to say as to why. Our dear friend, Julia Trigg, upon getting the news, said “”How can the people in power continue to exert such undue influence, and suppress the voices and rights of the rest of us? Money seems to be the movtivator, and the means. I’d rather have integrity and honor, and upon these pillars I will continue to fight”. Read the full story here.
We hope to see some of you in Dallas on the 19th and all of you in Paige, on May 3rd. If you’d like to help with this event, or otherwise volunteer, please reply or give me a call.
As always, we can use your financial support too. Please donate make a donation Independent Texans here or by sending us a check to the PO Box below.
On Friday, March 21st, 2014 the Texas Supreme Court informed us that our petition for review had been denied (document attached), meaning their decision was to not take our case on appeal.
With years invested in this fight for our land, and frankly the lands of many Texans threatened by eminent domain abuse, we are obviously disappointed our case would not be heard. We believe, as do thousands around the world who have supported us in our fight, that the issues at hand are crystal clear, and the abuses being perpetrated are undeniable.
A foreign corporation, building a for-profit pipeline, promoted as but absolutely unproven as being for the public good, and simply transporting products across our state for refinement and/or export should not have the right to take a Texan’s land through eminent domain.
The facts remain…
The Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees pipeline permitting, has stated it does NOT have jurisdiction over TransCanada’s Keystone Project because it is an interstate pipeline. (Document attached). Yet this Commission processed the application, and rubber stamped Keystone as a Common Carrier, a designation they indicate they’ve never denied if the right box is checked. This coveted Common Carrier designation, even in the absence of any documentation of tariffs or contracts, is the key that opens the door to absolutely unmonitored land condemnation and seizure through eminent domain
Common Carrier designation was codified in Texas in 1917 with Senate Bill 68. The preamble to this bill (Document attached, see Section 1.D) indicates that the statue would pertain to pipelines that transport crude petroleum from one place in the state of Texas to another place in the state. Since Keystone was built as a straight shot across Texas, with ZERO onramps for Texas oil to be introduced, the only way Texas oil can get into this pipeline is to first be shipped to Oklahoma, the nexus of the Gulf Coast Segment. How can Keystone be complying with the foundation of Texas Common Carrier law when our state’s products can’t even get into this pipeline?
Our legal challenge showcased not just these, but several other areas in Texas law where there is too little clarity, too few rights afforded to landowners, and too many legal interpretations that disproportionally benefit corporations over citizens.
While this door on our family’s legal case may be closing, there are many other battlegrounds where I will now redirect my focus, be they at the local, state or federal levels.There’s so much that needs to change…laws, processes, perceptions, our representatives, and more. I must not allow the momentum gained, the alliances forged, and the truths exposed during these past 3 years to be for naught, and I intend to continue fighting.
Julia Trigg Crawford
Red’Arc Farm/Crawford Family Farm
We want to introduce you to a very special person — Eric Williams of Dallas — with a very special independent message. (We’ll be in DFW on Saturday, April 19th, starting at 10 am with a meeting on Eric’s campaign bus parked at 370 W. Pleasant Run Rd., Lancaster–Breath of Righteousness Christian Fellowship Church.)
Eric is running as an independent (non-affiliated) for U.S. Congress against Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX 30th District). (There will be no Republican on the ballot in November.)
We were thrilled to hear his message! Eric tells us the truth about the Democratic Party — that there is more poverty and despair in the African-American and Hispanic communities that make up the bulk of the population of the 30th Congressional District, than in Martin Luther King’s day.
Eric says, “It is because these communities have put the Democrats first, when they put us last, that the 30th CD is in the predicament we are in today. Had we moved independent years ago, both parties would have been after our votes.”
What’s more, the people of the 30th CD have more in common with the so-called “conservative white” communities of East Texas than the Republicans would ever let you suspect. East Texas, where Eric is from, is so besieged by and oil and gas industry’s insistence on using eminent domain for private gain and endangering huge swaths of our most productive farmland and our precious water ways, it’s frightening! It too is causing poverty and despair.
We will be in DFW on the weekend of April 19th (starting at 10 am) and would like you to join us on Eric’s campaign bus. If you’d like to join us please email us (email@example.com) or call us at 512-535-0989.
Watch this video about just some of Eric’s work with Dallas youth — it gave us goose bumps! Come to the 30th CD and lend Eric and the independent movement a hand!
The League of Independent Voters of Texas is holding a statewide conference call next Saturday (January 25 at 10 am) to discuss efforts to bring the issues of eminent domain abuse, public safety and protection of waterways into the 2014 state election cycle debates.
If you want to join the call, please reply to this message — we’ll send you details.
REMEMBER PLEASE! – TEXAS residents, if you haven’t yet, SIGN THIS ONLINE LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL GREG ABBOTT:
Letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott:
Public Citizen just sent out a similar online letter to their supporters AND this letter to the Attorney General. The letter explains more precisely what the safety inspection (or lack thereof) issues are.
In addition, TransCanada is telling emergency response personnel in rural areas that it’s just “crude” coming through the line. This is deceptive and dangerous. Go to this site: http://www.tarsandsprotectionleague.org/ to see why.
The online letters are flying into the AG’s office but we NEED MORE! PLEASE HELP!
Hope to “see” you all next Saturday at 10 am via conference call.
This release was sent to statewide media. Please consider writing a letter to the editor about this of your local newspaper.
This Letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott from Public Citizen provides more details as to the safety issues.
Lots of background information and maps about how East Texas is affected are here: TexasPipelineWatch.org.
Even the bovines and equines get it –
No Eminent Domain for Private Gain!
This media release just went out to over 1,000 media outlets throughout Texas about Julia Trigg Crawford’s important appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. Please share this as you wish by sharing this from our web blog or just copy it and paste it into an email.
We will be back in touch real soon with our plans for the new year!
For Immediate Release: Jan. 8, 2014
Contact: Julia Trigg Crawford, 713-443-8789
Texas’s Highest Court Favors Texas Landowner
Over Foreign Pipeline Giant TransCanada
AUSTIN, TX – The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of landowner Julia Trigg Crawford, ordering TransCanada to submit information by Feb. 6 as the justices weigh arguments to hear the case regarding eminent domain abuse.
Texas’s highest court delivered a clear victory for pipeline opponents and landowners fighting TransCanada’s overreach on property rights. At the heart of Crawford’s case is the ability of TransCanada, a foreign corporation, to use eminent domain under the state’s “common carrier” clause since their pipeline transports 90% Canadian tarsands and 10% North Dakota oil. There is no on ramp for Texas oil therefore violating the definition of a common carrier under Texas law.
Crawford said she looks forward to her family’s day in court, “As a landowner, property rights are key to my livelihood and family legacy. A foreign corporation pumping foreign oil simply does not qualify as a common carrier under Texas law. TransCanada does not get to write their own rules. I look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case and our plea to protect the fundamental rights of property owners.”
The ruling on Wednesday from the Texas Supreme Court means that Crawford will be able to take the next step in the appeals process against TransCanada. The southern segment, also known as Gulf Coast Segment, stretches from Cushing, Oklahoma to Beaumont, Texas and carries tarsands or dilbit which is a combination of tarsands and chemicals that react very differently than conventional Texas oil when spills occur.
“We’re thrilled, because the a court has finally ruled in favor of us – the little guys – and against a foreign oil giant,” Julia Trigg Crawford continued. “Basically, TransCanada said that it wanted a waiver from responding to our petition, and the Supreme Court said, ‘No, you must respond’.”
Crawford says her case has broad implications, because if she wins, TransCanada and other foreign oil companies will no longer be able to use eminent domain to seize land for their private profit without direct proof their pipeline is carrying Texan oil.
TX Supreme Court Ruling: http://www.scribd.com/doc/197429631/Texas-Supreme-Court-Ruling-in-Favor-of-Landowner
Pictures of Julia Trigg Crawford: http://www.standtallwithjulia.com