Thanks to the many hundreds of people who came out to 9 East Texas hearings in Roans Prairie, Nacogcoches, Lufkin, Cleveland, Big Sandy, Fairfield, Bryan, Tyler and ending in Beaumont, Texas!
Here's what we learned:
- In the face of eminent domain abuse in the extreme by large corporations (including some foreign), Texas landowners, ordinary citizens and even local governments have no meaningful local control. (We can also expect, with the recent passage of Prop 6, even more use of eminent domain for water pipelines and private gain.)
- Due to 100 years of corporate personhood established in case law, there is little opportunity to stop three diluted bitumen carrying pipelines from risking private property, public safety and water resources throughout East Texas.
- Traditional property rights and environmental organizations are too divided by partisan politics and are without the tools (populism: a politic that favors ordinary citizens in their battles with the elite of any persuasion) to effectively fight.
- The Keystone XL pipeline is scheduled for commercial operation any day now -- without the proper review that one would expect following this CBS national news report on the Keystone XL's faulty construction.
- Most towns adjacent to the repurposed Seaway pipeline appear to have no idea that diluted bitumen (tar sands) has been running through the line for a year.
- The Pegasus is still shut down by the Attorney General of Arkansas. What are Texas officials, Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, who've been asked to at least hold hearings, doing? Zip.
- Residents in Beaumont have a very dangerous LNG (Liquid Natural Gas line, to move gas from fracking) 50 feet from their backdoors -- and no one seems to give a wit.
- Union Pacific Railroad plans to put a rail classification yard in the Brazos River Bottom (a flood plain, no less) taking 1800 acres of some of the world's richest farm land and transportating hazardous materials!
Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican running for Governor, just rendered an opinion coaxed by leading Austin area Democrat State Senator Kirk Watson, laying waste to Austin ratepayers' right to the referendum (a public vote) to maintain local control of their utility. We wonder what opinion AG Abbott will render on Lost Pines residents' local control of their groundwater.
Yes, it's sad. Are you mad? We are furious!
Here's what we CAN do: (We'll talk a lot more about these on Jan 11-12 in Paige - read on)
- We can continue to sound the alarm about the three pipelines carrying diluted bitmen in East Texas.
- We can continue to organize at the local level.
- We can seek out new options to build a grassroots citizen's revolt.
Here's how we plan to start:
The League of Independent Voters of Texas is bringing in CELDF -- the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund -- to conduct their "Democracy School" to share the truly revolutionary tools (in the spirit of anti-federalists -- Jefferson, Madison and Thomas Paine) to begin a new movement of, by and for ordinary Texans for real local control.
Watch this video and you'll see what we mean: http://vimeo.com/61778883
On Saturday and Sunday, January 11-12, we are converging in the small town of Paige in Bastrop County. Paige is at the epi-center of the Texas water wars over groundwater. It's also becoming known for it's local small farming community AND it has the lovely Paige Community Center, where this event will be held.
More on the January 11-12, Paige Pow Wow:
Please note: Saturday (day) event is free and we have plenty of room, though you should bring $5 for lunch. Saturday evening and Sunday is a smaller training session -- "The Democracy School" conducted by CELDF. We only have a total of 30 seats for the Democracy School, and it's filling up quickly. Right now, the cost for individuals will be $150, not including food or lodging. We are working to raise enough funds to provide scholarships, but cannot guarantee that.
RSVP: If you are coming, please reply or RSVP here and let us know if you're coming on Saturday day only or if you want to go through the Democracy School. Let us know what you can give to the Democracy school and about your housing needs.
To learn more about the school and CELDF, please visit their site here: http://www.celdf.org/democracy-school
As promised, here is the in-depth report from Public Citizen on the Keystone XL's construction problems.
Please come! Please reply or call us right away if you are.
Happy Holidays y'all. Seriously, enjoy the break and we'll get mad togehther Jan 11-12.
League of Independent Voters of Texas
PO Box 651 * Bastrop, TX 78602
512-213-4511 * 512-657-2089 cell
PS We are eager to talk with you anytime about followup on your specific area -- reply or call us and let's talk!