Lamar Co. Woman Fights Oil Pipeline - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Lamar Co. Woman Fights Oil Pipeline

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PARIS, TX -- A Lamar County woman was back in court in her ongoing challenge to TransCanada's right to use part of her farm to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

More than 40 people, many of them protesters from the Dallas area supporting Julia Trigg Crawford, showed up to the court hearing on Friday morning. Judge Bill Harris heard arguments about the company's right to take a sliver of her property to build their pipeline. 

"We just don't want them, so we don't feel we should be forced to give up our land. They can build a pipeline anywhere they want if they can find willing land owners," says Crawford.

"We have a route and we're trying to establish that we have a right of possession of that route," says TransCanada spokesman David Dodson.

Crawford's supporters cite land rights issues and environmental concerns. "Most of these communities up and down the pipeline have only volunteer fire departments there is no way they can be able to handle such a hazardous materials spill," says environmental activist Rita Beving.

Crawford says she is motivated by the fact that a private company is trying to take a Texan's land. "My grandfather didn't buy this place in 1948 to give it up to somebody else, especially to a foreign company and even if it's a sliver, you still lose control of that land. I pay taxes on it, but TransCanada can tell me what I can and can't do on it?"

TransCanada officials say the pipeline is needed to allow oil to travel more easily around the country, saying the infrastructure is not there to transport all the oil that is produced.

"That oil is not available for the economy. If we move it to Nederland on the Gulf Coast project, we're going to be that much closer to energy security, energy independence for the U.S.," says Dodson.

Not just crude oil but also more "sticky" bitumen from Canada's oil sands would pass through the pipeline. Harris will consider the arguments for summary judgment, and depending on what he decides the case could go to trial. A trial date is currently set in September.

After a brief recess from the first arguments of the morning, the doors to the courtroom were locked, keeping a few people who wanted to see the hearing from entering. Crawford says she was offered $21,000 as a final offer but she did not want to take it.