Keystone XL Pipeline Hits Legal Snag in Texas
A Lamar County farm family has stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline project dead in its tracks. The farmer has been granted a temporary restraining order that will stop the pipeline at her farm’s property line while lawyers on both sides argue the issues the family has raised.
As the operator of her family’s farm in Lamar County, Julia Crawford has been fighting TransCanada’s attempts to take their land through the process known as “eminent domain”, and because of concerns the pipeline will damage Caddo Indian burial sites and antiquities in its path.
This legal battle has also resurrected concerns about property rights versus powers of eminent domain. Keystone’s critics are challenging the company’s rights to use that power, citing a 2011 Texas Supreme Court decision that makes it harder for pipelines to meet the legal definition of a common carrier.
So, for now, the Keystone Pipeline through east Texas is stopped at the edge of the Crawford family farm in Lamar County, while lawyers split hairs over property rights and the Texas Antiquities Code against Keystone’s supposed powers of eminent domain.
Those purely local issues only serve to obscure the undeniable fact that the United States needs all the oil it can get. The pipeline from our friendly neighbor to the north would bring millions of barrels of oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, and reduce the amount of oil the US now has to buy from countries that hate us.