PARIS - A Lamar County landowner and Canadian pipeline company await a judge’s ruling over an eminent domain claim.
Julia Crawford and TransCanada each brought arguments Friday before Judge Bill Harris, who is expected to decide within a couple of weeks on whether to accept TransCanada’s request to halt the trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 4.
The suit to block the pipeline was filed in August 2011.
The heart of Crawford’s legal argument challenges Trans-Canada’s “common carrier” status, which gives the company eminent domain rights.
TransCanada company spokesman Jim Prescott told the Longview News-Journal Friday:
“We are confident the court will find in our favor and for what we believe is a strong argument and follow the law.”
Reports indicate more than 30 landowners across the country were on hand earlier that day, which also included an address in support of Crawford by former Texas gubernatorial candidate and Tea Party leader Debra Medina.
Referring to her Sumner, Texas ranch, Crawford is quoted by KXII-TV:
"So yeah, it's two acres out of a 30 acre pasture but it's kinda like being kinda pregnant. You are or you aren't and they're taking a piece of our land and it could've been a square inch. We'd prolly still be in that courtroom."
The 485-mile Gulf Coast leg of TransCanada’s pipeline would run through 16 Texas counties, including Fannin, Lamar, Delta, Hopkins, Franklin and Wood. The pipeline carrying diluted bitumen, known as tar sands oil, would continue to run toward refineries through Upshur, Smith, Cherokee, Rusk, Nacogdoches, Angelina, Polk, Liberty, Hardin, Jefferson and Harris counties.
Critics have long claimed tar sands is dirtier than most other heavy crudes refined in the U.S. and fear it'll bring more harm to air quality and increase risks for accidents and spills.