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ACTION—Stop TransCanada's Keystone XL Land Grab

Climate
ACTION—Stop TransCanada's Keystone XL Land Grab

CREDO Action

The arrogance of TransCanada is shocking, even for an oil company.

The company is threatening to seize the property of American landowners and start construction of its Keystone XL pipeline—even though President Obama last month rejected the permit to build.

The pipeline path includes the 600 acre working farm that Julia Trigg Crawford's grandfather bought in 1948, on the Texas Oklahoma border, where the Red River meets Bois d'Arc Creek, which waters the farm.

Fearing for the safety of her farm and it's water source, Julia Trigg rejected TransCanada's offer to buy an easement on her land.

TransCanada announced it was seizing her land under eminent domain and would begin digging, but Julia won a temporary restraining order,1 at least until Feb. 24, when the court will hear the case challenging Transcanada's status as a "common carrier" under Texas law.

It's bad enough that TransCanada expect landowners like Julia Trigg to accept permanent damage to their land and possible oil spills. But it's beyond arrogant for this foreign oil company to trample on private property rights and start construction on a project whose permit has just been denied.

Under eminent domain, the government can force landowners to accept monetary payment for the use of their land for certain public-good projects like highways and railroads.

Of course, TransCanada's massive fuse to the carbon bomb of the tar sands shouldn't qualify as one of these projects—it does great harm and only helps the profits of a foreign corporation. But regardless, the company doesn't even have the permit to build it, because the White House just rejected their application. But that hasn't stopped TransCanada.

According to The New York Times, the company has at least 34 eminent domain actions against landowners in Texas, and 22 in South Dakota.2 And their threats to landowners in Nebraska3 helped spark massive public opposition and a special legislative session that were key in the decision to consider a different route.

Many of these landowners are being sued by the company, and told that if they don't take the small monetary offering—sometimes less than $10,000 in exchange for the permanent damage to their land, and huge risk of spills—their land will be condemned and TransCanada will seize the easement.

Julia Trigg and others are fighting back and doing everything they can to oppose TransCanada's land grab.

Everyone from environmentalists to Tea Partiers in Texas are showing their support for Americans' property rights.4 As these court challenges unfold, we need to build pressure against TransCanada and spread the word about their reprehensible tactics.

Tell TransCanada—Stop using eminent domain to confiscate private property for the rejected Keystone XL Pipeline.

Click here to automatically sign the petition.

For more information, click here.

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1. "Keystone XL Pipeline: Texas Farmer Wins Temporary Restraining Order Against TransCanada," Huffington Post, Feb. 14, 2012
2. "Eminent Domain Fight Has a Canadian Twist," New York Times, Oct. 17, 2011
3. "TransCanada Keystone XL Eminent Domain Threat Letter ," Dirty Oil Sands
4. "Texans rally against Keystone XL oil pipeline easement," LA Times, Feb. 17, 2012

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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