PARIS - Lamar County Judge Bill Harris has ruled against landowner Julia Crawford, saying Wednesday night that TransCanada has the right to eminent domain.
That granted the Canadian oil company’s motion for a summary judgment and denied Crawford’s plea.
“It is absolutely unbelievable to me eminent domain abuse continues in Texas given the revelations made during our court case,” Crawford said in a statement to StateImpact Texas.
Crawford had argued whether the pipeline’s status as a “common carrier” was legitimate. Crawford tells StateImpact she’s “not done” and could appeal the ruling.
But in the meantime, TransCanada can legally start digging on Crawford’s farm. This comes after they recently obtained permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction on the southern leg of their project, from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.
The Washington Post says the option of using eminent domain for pipelines is typically granted by state agencies. In Texas, it is recognized by the Texas Railroad Commission, a long-time regulator of the state oil industry. The Post cites the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor in 2002 as one reason why eminent domain is a touchy topic in the Lone Star State.
Debra Medina, a former tea party-favored Republican candidate for Texas governor and property-rights activist, told the Associated Press:
“Judge Harris’ disappointing decision today further highlights the vulnerable and precarious position that Texas landowners are in."