Julia Trigg Crawford
Julia Trigg Crawford

As with so many movements these days, a campaign to oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has gone online, in the form of a petition that pits a Texas farmer against a giant oil company.

The David vs. Goliath cyber battle is being waged via a petiton on Change.org which has drawn 15,000 signatures since being launched last week. While the pipeline would affect thousands of people, the petition focuses on Julia Trigg Craword, one of the many landowners who will have land seized by eminent domain rights.

The hotly contested pipeline issue is not, somewhat surprisingly, following partisan divisions. Occupiers, Tea Partiers and other unlikely partners have bonded over environmental concerns and landowner rights. On the other side of the equation is TransCanada, the company who will profit from the pipeline, and those who point out that building it it will create jobs and make oil more readily available.

Environmentalists point out that another TransCanada pipeline has already leaked more than a dozen times. If the proposed pipeline is built along its intended route and it leaks, drinking water for a million Americans, countless numbers of livestock and irrigation water for crops in 60 Texas counties would be at risk. 

Opponents of the pipeline are vowing a legal challenge to the property seizures. “This is a huge loophole that was left open for any company to come in and claim to be a common carrier and automatically be able to use right of seizure, eminent domain to take somebody’s land,” said Linda Curtis, Director of Independent Texans.

Last month more than 50 protesters from nearby counties gathered in Paris, Texas to demonstrate their support for Crawford. They stood on the Lamar County courthouse steps, waving flags and shouting slogans like ‘Don’t mess with Texas’ and ‘This is what democracy looks like.’”

Said Crawford: "This is about rights as a landowner.”