Landowner’s Dream of Sustainable Biofuel Farm Destroyed by TransCanada

Outside the small, East Texas town of Douglass, TransCanada continues bulldozing and clearing to make way for the construction of their toxic tar sands pipeline, leaving a 110-foot wide scar of desert spanning across forests and front yards. One resident, Michael Bishop, has been fighting the devastating project for years in an effort to save his home and livelihood from what he describes as an invasion of a foreign company that will forever ruin his land and business.

In addition to growing food for his family, Bishop—a retired chemist and former marine—is in business to produce biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel from grasses grown on his property, directly in the right-of-way of the Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada is currently preparing to turn the very land that Bishop cultivates for alternative fuel production into a swath of unproductive desert, forever ruining his business and leaving his front yard a permanent eyesore.

Bishop finds the language of “adequate compensation” to be disrespectful and ultimately ill-founded—the incredible bounty of plums that once grew on his land came from trees that were purchased for $35, but continued to produce through the years and had an emotional value that could not be weighed. The land that Bishop once raised livestock on will forever be marred, and his long-held dreams of future projects and ranching are fading quickly as clearing crews approach. Just dozens of meters away from his front porch, the pipeline poses an immense risk to him, his children, and the wildlife that lives on his property.

For Bishop, the notion that anyone could be adequately compensated for the intrinsic dangers of this toxic tar sands pipeline is ludicrous, frustrating, and ultimately disrespectful—indicative of TransCanada’s broader disregard for the health of the planet, the communities that live along the length of the pipeline, and landowners who have been forced into negotiations and prolonged lawsuits while attempting to resist this carbon-heavy hazardous project.

Bishop is suing the Railroad Commission of Texas for wrongly granting TransCanada a permit. TransCanada’s common carrier status, which allows it to use eminent domain to appropriate land, depends upon the Railroad Commission’s erroneous definition of tar sands bitumen as “crude oil.”

Tar Sands Blockade stands with landowners and front-line communities that bear the brunt of this all-out assault on the planet and civil liberties. To stand with Tar Sands Blockade, donate funds to our campaign or come join us for our upcoming Mass Action, January 3-8.

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