Lamar Co. Property Owner Still Fighting Pipeline - - No One Gets You Closer

Lamar Co. Property Owner Still Fighting Pipeline


LAMAR COUNTY, TX -- Crews are hard at work building the Keystone pipeline at different spots around the county, but they are still not welcome at one house.

According to TransCanada, more than 500 people are now working on the northern third of the pipeline. In Lamar County, workers at contractor Michaels Corporation have been busy since Labor Day.

Six days a week, workers fan out across Lamar County from their home yard west of Paris, working on several different properties at the same time. But even as the work creeps toward her front door, land owner Julia Trigg Crawford says she is still fighting.

"I probably feel more strongly about it now," Crawford says. "The information that continues to come out, TransCanada's explanation of what they're transporting continues to morph."

After a judge in Paris ruled against her in August, Crawford says she is now appealing the decision to a state appeals court in Texarkana. Meanwhile, workers are putting in the pipeline at spots all around the county, even right across the street from Crawford.

"The first crews that go through are the survey crews and then they stake the right of way the easements, then clearing crews, grading crews, it's one crew after another," says TransCanada spokesman Jim Prescott.

When it is complete, the pipeline will stretch from Cushing, Oklahoma, all the way to the Houston area, and on Wednesday afternoon, workers were busy covering up part of it with dirt on a property near Tiger Town. Prescott says work will soon get underway in Oklahoma.

Area residents say they can see what Crawford is thinking, but that they also think the pipeline is valuable. "I understand their feelings about wanting to keep it unmolested, but we do need the oil and we don't need to be buying it from someone else," says resident Ruby Whitten.

"We continue to fight on the basis of Texas law on when eminent domain can be used and TransCanada must feel like they know how the judges are going to rule, because they're building and getting up to my point," says Crawford.

Crawford says digging could start on her land soon, after the company wrapped up a survey for Caddo Indian artifacts near the road. "We don't know what was found, but it took a month and there were probably at any point six to ten archaeologists out there working," says Crawford.

"It's still their property, we don't take it from them, they still use it," says Prescott.

Crawford says TransCanada told her they plan to start on her land as soon as November 15, and that the appeal likely will not stop them. Prescott says TransCanada hopes to have the entire project wrapped up by next summer.