If you live in East Texas, pay close attention and if you know folks who live there, send them this message posted here.
Citizens in 6 cities (Cleveland, Big Sandy, Fairfield, Bryan-College Station, Tyler and Beaumont) are holding their own hearings in East Texas — starting on Tuesday! See below.
A national CBS News report last Tuesday exposed the faulty construction problems identified months ago by East Texas landowners with the Keystone XL pipeline. Keystone XL (owned by TransCanada) is slated to start any day now pushing toxic diluted bitumen (aka tar sands) over hundreds of waterways and across the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer that serves 10-12 million people:
An in-depth Special Report of Keystone XL’s problem was released by Public Citizen click here.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus were warned about the problems by a cross-partisan coalition (in this letter from Debra Medina, Julia Trigg Crawford and Jim Hightower) last June. They were asked to do an interim study and public hearings. The Lt. Governor’s office said he was “too busy” and Speaker Straus has been mute.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Independent Texans will hold a meeting on Monday, December 2nd, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Paige Community Center at 107 S. Main (at 290) in Paige, Texas.. We have some important updates to share on the water front and this meeting is just one week from the filing deadline for candidates to run in 2014. Please come!
We can change election outcomes next November if we organize now, folks!
The hearings below are being sponsored by a new non-profit independent organization called the League of Independent Voter of Texas. We’ll tell you more about it real soon!
- Tues., Nov. 19th, 6:30-8:30 pm, Cleveland, TX, Beulah Land Baptist Church (Rev. Aubrey Vaughan is host), 464 County Road 2184. Speakers: Debra Medina (We Texans), Jim Williams (Public Citizen), Linda Curtis as facilitator (League of Independent Voters). Relevant pipelines: Keystone XL & Pegasus.
- Wed., Nov. 20, 6:30-8:30 pm, Big Sandy, TX, Big Sandy Community Center, 207 Gilmer Street, Big Sandy. Speakers: Julia Trigg Crawford (Lamar County farmer), Jessica Ellison (local family farm), Emily Harris (Mayflower, AR first responder by video or in person), Linda Curtis (facilitator).
- Thurs., Nov. 21, 7:00-9:00 pm, Fairfield, TX, VFW Hall, 198 VFW Road, Fairfield, TX. Speakers: Medina, Smitty and Harris (in person or video), Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipelines: Pegasus and Seaway.
- Tues., Dec. 3, 6:30-8:30 pm, Bryan-College Station TX, Best Western Premier Old Town Center, 1920 Austins Colony Pkwy, Bryan, TX, Speakers: Smitty (Public Citizen), Harris (video or in person), Kathleen Hubbard (Brazos River Bottom Alliance), Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipeline & issues: Seaway & railway station in Brazos Valley. Additional speakers likely.
- Wed., Dec. 4, 6:30-8:30 pm, Tyler, TX Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive, Tyler, TX. Speakers: Calvin Tilman, Smitty (Public Citizen), Curtis, facilitator. Additional speakers likely. Relevant pipelines: Keystone XL, Pegasus.
- Thurs., Dec. 5, 6:30-8:30 pm, Beaumont, TX, Knights of Columbus Hall, 9505 College, Beaumont, TX. Speakers: Smitty (Public Citizen), Isom Ramsey (local resident), Mike Hathorn, Cherokee County landowner, Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipelines: Pegasus, Seaway, CrossTex (eminent domain abuse). Additional speakers likely.
These hearings are sponsored by a new non-profit organization — the League of Independent Voters of Texas
PO Box 651 * Bastrop, TX 78602 * 512-213-4511
The Prop 6 stench is getting increasingly gross. It’s also getting weirder.
It was revealed today that Water Texas PAC will spend $2M for the $2B Perry crony water slush fund aka Prop 6.
Talk about stench — TransCanada even bellied up to the Prop 6 slop trough. They’re the ones who are taking Texans’ land against their will through eminent domain so they can pump toxic sludge — diluted bitumen (aka tar sands) — over hundreds of Texas water ways!
Check out the Texans for Public Justice analysis of Water Texas PAC “Will $2M Water PAC Spawn a Perry Slush Fund?”: http://info.tpj.org/Lobby_Watch/pdf/WaterTexasSlushFund.pdf
A special thanks to Rep. David Simpson for continuing to work to defeat Prop 6. See his op-ed in the Houston Chronicle today: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Simpson-New-financing-methods-won-t-solve-water-4940562.php
We were remiss in not publishing Debra Medina’s op-ed (opposite none other than the Governor himself) in the Tribune last week: http://www.texastribune.org/2013/10/22/guest-column-vote-no-prop-6/
And, Greg Harmon’s op-ed in today’s Star-Telegram and the Ft. Worth Weekly gives some new terrific insights on Prop 6 and conservation: http://www.fwweekly.com/2013/10/30/prop-6/
If you’re on Facebook, be sure to like the Nix Prop 6 page and then use the “invite” button to ask your friends to like the page and keep it going: https://www.facebook.com/notoprop6
We’re getting calls from across Texas!
Keep it up Texas!
Appellate Court Decision Rules on Crawford Condemnation on Keystone XL Pipeline Family Vows to Move Case Up to Texas Supreme Court
Paris, Texas – Today the 6th Appellate Court ruled against the Crawford family in their condemnation case against TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. Despite the ruling, the family has decided to move their appeal up to the Texas Supreme Court.
“We certainly disagree with the Appellate Court’s ruling, and we fully intend to appeal this decision to the Texas Supreme Court,” commented Wendi Hammond, attorney for the Crawford family farm partnership. ” At this time, I cannot comment as to the exact points for appeal; however, I expect it will certainly include a request for further scrutiny of the Texas law to determine whether TransCanada actually qualifies as a common carrier.”
“As shown by the Denbury case, the Texas Supreme Court has demonstrated great courage and willingness to overturn lower courts’ decisions to protect Texas citizens from abuse of eminent domain laws by private corporations,” commented Julia Trigg Crawford. “We will continue our fight because the Keystone XL pipeline is all risk and no reward for my family and those Texans like us.”
“We have always seen our appellate case as a stepping stone to a higher court by which to resolve this matter,” added Crawford. “We see this ruling as just another part of our journey in the process.”
Julia Trigg continued, “TransCanada is a foreign corporation using weak eminent domain laws to take property for their own private gain from hard-working Texans. Eminent domain was never intended for this purpose. As a landowner and an American, I support energy independence, but I value our individual and constitutional freedoms more than anything else. I’m continuing my stand for freedom from strangers on our land and freedom from my family’s land being taken from faceless, foreign corporations for their own private greed.”
“In addition to the appeal, our next steps will focus on asking our legislators and fellow citizens to hold public hearings on eminent domain and expose the risks these pipelines pose to those like us living along the routes,” Crawford concluded. “Together we will ask our officials to change the laws that have so far left hundreds of Texans with no other recourse than to go to the courthouse as we have done. Our case is emblematic of those American landowners whose constitutional assurances have been trampled and we will continue to stand up for our rights.”
Media Advisory: Appellate Court hears Crawford v. TransCanada Eminent Domain Case on Keystone XL pipeline
Press Conference Via Conference Call: July 30, 2013, 3 :30 pm
Contacts: Julia Trigg Crawford, 713.443.8789, Rita Beving, Public Citizen, 214.557.2271, Linda Curtis, Independent Texans, 512.535.0989
Appellate Court to hear Julia Trigg Crawford v. TransCanada Eminent Domain Case Regarding Keystone XL Pipeline
WHAT: A tele presser following the hearing with the 6th Appellate Court on Julia Trigg Crawford’s challenge to TransCanada’s right to use eminent domain to condemn her family’s farmland for the Keystone XL pipeline.
WHEN: Tuesday, July 30, 3:30 pm, following the hearing. Hearing begins at 1:30 pm.
WHERE: Via conference call at this number: 866.501.6174 and conference code 31790031892 or in person outside the courtroom a Hunt County Auxiliary Courtroom, 2700 Johnson Street, Greenville, Texas.
MORE: Julia Trigg Crawford said, “My family and I are humbled by the support and encouragement we’ve received from across America and the world on our appeal. What began simply as the Crawford’s stand to protect our farm has become a stand for everyone’s property rights; and furthermore a movement to bring justice to all those who are facing corrupted land grabs.
As we did at the lower court, we will argue that TransCanada is not a common carrier with eminent domain authority, and did not have the right to take our land from us. TransCanada arrogantly decided not to wait on the decision of the Appeal’s Court, and has pushed forward with its construction.
Our arguments will be heard by an experienced panel of Justices, familiar with cases of this high visibility and significance. We are confident our case will be given the thoughtful consideration and the review it deserves.”
With due respect to both sides of the truly out-of-control scene last night on the floor of the Texas Senate, we wonder why no one on either side bothered to ask this question: Can we agree on the abortion issue? We all know that we cannot. Moreover, we independents know the reason we cannot is because it’s none of the government’s business!
So why did the Governor and Lt. Governor agree that abortion should be the subject of a Special Session? To state the obvious, it’s about the 2014 mid-term election where all statewide offices, all Texas House members, many Texas Senate seats and County Commission seats, and more, will be up for grabs.*
The Texas abortion brouhaha took place on the very same day of the US Supreme Court decision to dismantle the “preclearance” provisions of the Voting Rights Act. (That means that voting system changes no longer have to be pre-approved, prior to their implementation, by the US Justice Department in areas of the country with a history of discriminatory voting practices.) The Court’s ruling, together with the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s abortion antics, underscore the need to get the parties out of the business of determining our voting systems. This is especially true of redistricting – hello!
The only solution is to have a citizens takeover of the electoral system, starting with the redistricting process, like the one Austin voters won at the ballot last November. (More here at TrustAustin.org).
Yes, obviously, each side is revving up their partisans to do battle with the other party. It’s not a conspiracy (other than the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s perhaps), it’s just what parties do. Note: Terri Hall of Texas TURF, wisely pointed out that in the midst of all the bedlam over abortion, what didn’t get to the table in the Special Session that ended at midnight last night was an actual solution to our road funding problem! After ten years of fighting about it, this is a big deal, folks. Read this piece by Terri Hall here.
The press reported there was more collegiality and consensus building that took place in the regular session.. We do not doubt that. But we would ask for what purpose? They did not resolve the state’s water and land crisis. Throwing $2B at the water problem, for projects set to squander water (through reservoirs and moving groundwater to the growth corridors) is will crush already fragile independent agriculture and landowners. Luckily, we get a chance to vote on it in November.
The TransCanadian pipeline, carrying toxic tar sands that will traverse critical water supply and towns not yet prepared for potential spills, is set to be up and running in early 2014. Fracking is using potable water in areas of the state where there is no water. Texas towns are running out of water. Growth (500 people are moving to Texas per day) and the dominance of the real estate industry are killing affordability in our big cities and pitting urban against rural for our resources.
Now we have another session with abortion at the top of the Call, and the parties are getting set for another deadly battle where there’s no winning for ordinary citizens — pro-choice, pro-life or whatever your beliefs. Now ain’t that special? The Republican majority will ram a likely unconstitutional new abortion law on Texas. They will beat their chests and tie up the courts (there’s your “tort reform”) and use it to refocus as many voters as they can swindle away from the impending crisis of land, water and growing poverty.
The bottom line: Job creation in Texas cannot keep up with the crisis underway because the costs of our unnatural growth will never catch up. (If you want to understand this in just one Texas city, go to CostofGrowth.com, a site created by a whistle-blower real estate develper, Brian Rodgers.)
We must come together — as a people — to bring this agenda into the upcoming election. We can start by defeating the constitutional water amendment that will be on this November’s statewide ballot.
You can help by volunteering some time and sending us those nickels and dimes to help us put on a conference about all of the above in Bastrop in the fall. Thank you so much to those who contributed last week.
We’d really like to know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, please and thank you!