Texas Farmers Lose Another Bid to Block Keystone PipelineLaurel Brubaker Calkins
TransCanada Corp. won another of the remaining Texas state-court challenges by landowners trying to block construction of the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline across their property.
A state appeals court in Beaumont, Texas, denied a bid by David Holland and his partners in a southeast Texas rice farm to overturn a lower-court order that let TransCanada install its pipeline before the landowners’ appeals were completed.
Holland challenged Keystone’s status as a common carrier, with the right to use eminent domain statutes to condemn an easement across his land. He argued that a 2012 Texas Supreme Court decision required the pipeline to prove it was a common carrier before it could take possession of the land through eminent domain.
The three-judge appellate panel, in a unanimous ruling today, said the state high-court decision didn’t apply to the specific statute TransCanada used to access eminent domain in this case. Under the Texas Property Code, TransCanada could proceed before appeals were done, the judges said.
TransCanada, based in Calgary, has been fighting court challenges from a handful of landowners who object to the Keystone XL’s route in East Texas. This portion of the pipeline, which connects Beaumont with Cushing, Oklahoma, forms the southernmost leg of a 2,151-mile (3,461-kilometer) system that will carry tar-sands crude from western Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast.
The case is In Re Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd., 09-12-00484, Court of Appeals, Ninth District of Texas (Beaumont).