While Washington lobbyists continue to push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, activists have taken the fight to their backyards.
In January, President Obama rejected Alberta-based TransCanada’s proposal to build a pipeline from Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. But in February, the company announced that while it reapplied for a permit, it would go ahead with construction of the pipeline’s southern leg. This project didn’t cross any international borders, and so didn’t need White House approval–but it has sparked local resistance.
That’s how the oil giant found itself in a legal battle with a farmer outside the town of Direct, Texas. Julia Trigg Crawford owns 30 acres along the pipeline’s route, and – after rejecting a $20,000 offer from TransCanada–requested a restraining order to prevent construction on her property. She has won a court date in April to argue that TransCanada lacks standing to declare eminent domain. In an e-mail, Trigg Crawford said a decision last year by the Texas Supreme Court put “the burden of proof … on the pipeline. We feel good about our case.”
Several hundred miles north, Native American activists on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota took their own stand against tar sands oil.