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Texas Landowner Gets Restraining Order Against Keystone XL
A Texas landowner who three weeks ago signed an easement agreement with TransCanada Corp. on a part of its Keystone XL oil pipeline project won a county court-ordered temporary restraining order on part of the Keystone southern portion for which work is ongoing in three segments between Cushing, OK, and the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
Nacogdoches County Court Judge Jack Sinz granted the order Friday to retired chemist and former Marine Michael Bishop, who is alleging that TransCanada intentionally “misled and misrepresented” the Keystone project to landowners. Bishop has used his 20 acres to grow flowers and grasses to produce biodiesel.
A temporary injunction hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Nacogdoches, TX, in Bishop’s case, which attempts to halt the pipeline project until a jury can hear the merits of his case, according to Bishop, who participated in a conference call sponsored by opponents of the pipeline Tuesday.
Bishop said he signed an agreement “under coercion and duress” and after TransCanada took him to court to enforce eminent domain rights for gaining a pipeline easement. “There is no equivocation under the law in Texas that if you have been defrauded on a piece of property because it is misrepresented, you can bring a lawsuit and it makes the basic contract null and void. That is part of my lawsuit. I want to rescind [the easement agreement].”
Keystone XL was originally conceived as one project to tap Canadian oil supplies and upper Midwest U.S. oil. The U.S. Department of State is currently reviewing TransCanada’s revamped application for a Presidential Permit to proceed with the 1,179-mile (1,897-km) Keystone XL pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, NE, and is expected to make a decision in the first quarter of 2013.
Last summer the project was split in two and the 485-mile Gulf Coast Project now under construction began moving ahead (see Shale Daily, July 30), following the Obama administration’s earlier rejection of the larger pipeline proposal.
A Houston-based TransCanada spokesperson told NGI‘sShale Daily Tuesday that the company had not yet been served with court documents. Bishop is representing himself in the effort to halt the project, TransCanada said.
“Just three weeks ago, the same landowner signed an easement agreement with TransCanada,” said the spokesperson. The energy infrastructure company was granted authority to build the part of Keystone XL in Texas under the state’s laws and construction has already begun, the spokesperson said.
“Mr. Bishop’s [court] request does not impact overall construction, and we are on track to bring this pipeline into operation in late 2013.”
The focus of Bishop’s fight with TransCanada is that allegedly the pipeline is not going to be moving crude oil, but instead will be transporting diluted bitumen, or oilsands, which allegedly poses specific environmental hazards. The landowner was joined on the conference call by environmental organization leaders alleging that Bishop, public officials and other landowners have been “defrauded and bullied” by the energy company.
The opposition groups are organizing public demonstrations in Washington, DC, and Texas in opposition to the Gulf Coast Project. Bishop made it clear he intend to ultimately stop the overall pipeline project. “The whole thing has been grossly misrepresented from day one,” he said.
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