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Release: Citizens Hold Own Hearings, Snubbed by Dewhurst & Straus

Citizens in 6 Texas cities (Cleveland, Big Sandy, Fairfield, Bryan-College Station, Tyler and Beaumont) are holding their own informal public hearings, inviting local officials to join them, to highlight the problems with eminent domain abuse, pipeline safety and protection of waterways posed by plans to transport hazardous crude (aka diluted bitumen or tar sands) across hundreds of Texas waterways, including reservoirs that provide drinking water to citizens in Tarrant and Harris counties.

         Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus were warned about the problems by a cross-partisan coalition (in this letter from Debra Medina, Julia Trigg Crawford and Jim Hightower) last June.

Julia Trigg Crawford, Lamar County farmer and one of the landowners organizing the Big Sandy hearing, said, “The Lt. Governor and House Speaker, who have the power to call for interim studies and public hearings, have been made aware of the many issues, not just by us but by fellow State Legislators, and they have chosen to blow us off. Therefore, we are holding our own hearings to inform the public and to begin pressuring our officials to prepare our communities for worst-case scenarios and to press on for the landowner protections so needed and so deserved.”

The citizen hearings come on the heels of a breaking national CBS News report just last Tuesday exposing the faulty construction problems identified months ago by East Texas landowners with the Keystone XL pipeline:

         An in-depth Special Report of the problem was released by Public Citizen — click here

The southern leg of the Keystone XL (owned by TransCanada) is slated to start any day now pushing diluted bitumen (aka tar sands) over hundreds of waterways and across the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer that serves 10-12 million people. There are two other tar sands pipelines threatening waterways in East Texas. The Seaway, which traverses just east of the Dallas area, is a 37-year old line that is being repurposed and twinned to carry diluted bitumen. The Pegasus, a more than 60-year old line, was shut down in March due to a breach resulting in the evacuation of 22 homes in Mayflower, Arkansas. Several homes have had to be demolished. As well, a Union Pacific rail yard is being planned for the Brazos River bottom that, if carrying tar sands, poses additional risks to water and property rights of an important farming area.

Citizen Hearings – Eminent Domain, Public Safety and Protection of Waterways

  1. Tues., Nov. 19th, 6:30-8:30 pm, Cleveland, TX, Beulah Land Baptist Church (Rev. Aubrey Vaughan is host), 464 County Road 2184, Cleveland, TX. Speakers:  Debra Medina (We Texans), Jim Williams (Public Citizen), Mike Hathorn, landowner Cherokee County, Linda Curtis as facilitator (League of Independent Voters).  Relevant pipelines: Keystone XL & Pegasus.

  2. Wed., Nov. 20, 6:30-8:30 pm, Big Sandy, TX, Big Sandy Community Center, 207 Gilmer Street, Big Sandy. Speakers:  Julia Trigg Crawford (Lamar County farmer), Jessica Ellison (local family farm), Emily Harris (Mayflower, AR first responder by video or in person), Linda Curtis (facilitator).

  3. Thurs., Nov. 21, 7:00-9:00 pm, Fairfield, TX, VFW Hall, 198 VFW Road, Fairfield, TX.  Speakers:  Medina, Smitty and Harris (in person or video), Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipelines: Pegasus and Seaway.

  4. Tues., Dec. 3, 6:30-8:30 pm, Bryan-College Station TX, Best Western Premier Old Town Center, 1920 Austins Colony Pkwy, Bryan, TX, Speakers:  Smitty (Public Citizen), Harris (video or in person), Kathleen Hubbard (Brazos River Bottom Alliance), Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipeline & issues:  Seaway & railway station in Brazos Valley. Additional speakers likely.

  5. Wed., Dec. 4, 6:30-8:30 pm, Tyler, TX Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive, Tyler, TX.  Speakers:  Calvin Tilman, Smitty (Public Citizen), Curtis, facilitator.  Additional speakers likely. Relevant pipelines:  Keystone XL, Pegasus.

  6. Thurs., Dec. 5, 6:30-8:30 pm, Beaumont, TX, Knights of Columbus Hall, 9505 College, Beaumont, TX.  Speakers:  Smitty (Public Citizen), Isom Ramsey (local resident), Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipelines: Pegasus, Seaway, CrossTex (eminent domain abuse). Additional speakers likely.

Sponsored by the League of Independent Voters of Texas PO Box 651 * Bastrop, TX 78602 * 512-213-4511

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