HOUSTON (AP) TransCanada can resume oil pipeline work on a private Texas property for now, a judge said Dec. 13, at least until a hearing meant to determine whether the product the company wants to transport is in fact crude oil.
Judge Jack Sinz initially issued an order in Nacogdoches County Court halting work on the Keystone XL pipeline on property owned by Michael Bishop in Douglass, Texas. But TransCanada requested a separate court date to lift the temporary restraining order, and Sinz scheduled a hearing for Dec. 13, where he lifted the restrictions.
TransCanada had been clearing areas of Bishop’s land to begin construction. Spokesman Shawn Howard said work is unlikely to begin before the hearing, which would also address TransCanada’s counterclaim that Bishop has breached his contract to build its pipeline on his property.
Bishop, meanwhile, vowed to fight on, one of many Texas landowners battling TransCanada’s plan to build a pipeline to transport Canadian tar sands oil to Gulf Coast refineries.
“TransCanada executives may be smirking over Judge Sinz’s ruling, but they’ve got another thing coming if they think I’ll just roll over for its dirty pipeline,” Bishop said in a statement. “I didn’t pick this fight, but I refuse to sit idly by while a multinational corporation tramples my rights and that of other landowners all along Keystone XL’s path in the name of deepening its profits.”
The company’s project has encountered numerous obstacles nationwide, including President Barack Obama’s rejection of the presidential permit they require for the pipeline to cross the U.