Protection of our Land and Equal Property Rights
Stop Keystone XL
I'm a Texas Landowner, and the first woman to manage our family farm. As women do, I take my role as steward and protector of this land very seriously. So when TransCanada took part of our farm against our wishes I knew I had to stand and fight. Our fight began as just the Crawford family standing up against the bully TransCanada and a grossly flawed condemnation process. But we've seemingly become the face of many landowners in Texas, and beyond, standing up to an unbalanced process that gives corporations unbridled powers to take land with no checks and balances, and no consideration on the wishes of the landowners.
Reasons for working in this topic, project or business:
I have a responsibility to protect this land against all invaders, foreign or domestic. I also have a responsibility to ensure the farm will be cared for and nurtured so it will provide bountifully for generations to come. I left the corporate world wanting to do something more real, something where I could see daily the good I was doing. Nothing is more satisfying than to see crops grow and provide a fruitful harvest, year after year. And while this fight for property rights and protection of my land is exhausting, it is also energizing, as I've found an amazing support community around the world, and I feel an obligation to represent them as much as I am my own family and land.
Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:
At this juncture I'm fighting on many fronts. First, close to home I'm up against a pipeline permitting process at the Texas Railroad Commission that is nothing more than a rubber stamp. By their own admission they grant Common Carrier permits to any entity that checks the right box. Once rubber stamped with Common Carrier designation thorugh this shell of a permitting process, pipelines can then pick up the club of eminent domain and take land, unchecked and unchallenged. In tandem with a flawed process, the vast majority of elected officials in Texas have chosen to abandon the cries of landowners around the taking of our land, as our representatives seem to feel more beholding to the oil industry than those of us who voted them into office. We are beginning to break the barriers down, but having any kind of voice and access to media has been difficult. On the bigger front we need to support the fight against the big brother pipeline, Keystone XL. While the fight is real here in Texas against a pipeline that's already half way done, we can help exert pressure via national groups to persuade President Obama to deny that permit. And lastly I'm fighting the propaganda machine of Big Oil combined with the lack of knowledge by the public.
What is needed to overcome barriers to implement solutions:
To shine more light on these issues we need more people stepping forth to tell their stories, more media to print these stories, and stronger action by the more enlighted and openminded elected officials. Fortunately we are seeing some activity just last week (March 8, 2013) at the Texas State Capitol on newly submitted bills that will create some positive change to the flawed process. And we need more dialogue to share the realities of this project..the REAL job creation numbers, the REAL environmental risks, the REAL target markets for this refined product. Across the board we need more open minds and ears.
Specific needs and/or support requests:
In Texas we need more pressure on elected officials, they need to be pressed to come clean on where they stand....are they for Oil companies having unbridled power to take land for their projects?, or are they for landowners having some say and avenue to challenge the taking of land for projects that do not appear to have any clear public use? For those few who side with landowners we need them to take firm stands and exert influence with new bills, solutions, interviews with the media profiling the problems. For those who have abandoned the landowners and side with Big Oil we need their positions to be magnified and made more visible.
Suggested best local solution for this topic:
The personal fight I'm waging is pretty much in my camp right now, as I'm fighting in the legal system. We have appealed TransCanada's taking our land, and are now in the State Appeallate Court. We will continue this fight in the legal system as long as our legal defense fund holds out. In tandem, I will continue to share my story and showcase the inequities whenever and whereever I can, as the personal story seems to resonate with audiences. If people want to follow my fight they can via www.standwithjulia.com. Sharing our story and our fight helps spread the message. Should someone so choose they can also help financially with a donation to our legal defense fund. We are also hosting Stand Tall, a benefit concert at our farm April 20th to raise more money, but also raise the awareness of issues and solutions. Information and tickets to this concert are at www.standtall.ticketleap.com/tickets
Aside from the Texas oriented groups like NACStop and Public Citizen Austin, I am not aware of business or networking opportunites beyond simple circles of friends and supporters.
Suggested best global solution for this topic:
The issues immediately impacting our farm need to be remedied at the State level with a stronger more transparent permitting process. But on a bigger scale fossil fuel industry's strongarming tactics are being addressed with 350.org, Sierra Club, etc . We need to empower these groups with our support.
Best practices and policies:
Sadly I can't find a place or state that's doing it right at the moment..perhaps Texas can step up and implement the changes that will make IT the industry bar.
Real Mother Earth/Women Stewards of the Land
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