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Wednesday Watercooler


Tonight’s music video is Lost In The Trees performing “Past Life” from the upcoming album of the same name. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but the opening scene reminded me of Walt sitting alone in his icy cabin in those closing episodes of Breaking Bad.

Protest sign: Keystone XL Pipeline, YOU SHALL NOT PASS

A legal victory in the fight against TransCanada’s toxic sludge.

Apologies to anyone affected by our site outage earlier this evening! Everything should be back to normal, but let us know in the comments if you run into any problems.

Tonight, you can hear me live at 10pm CST (8pm Pacific, 11pm Eastern) on Thinkwing Radio on Houston’s KPFT 90.1. I’ll be discussing “Whither Occupy?” with host Mike Honig and his engineer/discussion partner Egberto Willies. You can listen live at 10pm Central or I’ll link to an archive when it is available.

Tar Sands Blockade reports good news tonight. A Texas land owner won a small but significant legal victory against TransCanada:

The Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of landowner Julia Trigg Crawford, ordering TransCanada to submit information by Feb. 6 as the justices weigh arguments to hear the case regarding eminent domain abuse. Texas’s highest court delivered a clear victory for pipeline opponents and landowners fighting TransCanada’s overreach on property rights. At the heart of Crawford’s case is the ability of TransCanada, a foreign corporation, to use eminent domain under the state’s “common carrier” clause since their pipeline transports 90% Canadian tar sands and 10% North Dakota oil. There is no on ramp for Texas oil therefore violating the definition of a common carrier under Texas law.

Crawford said she looks forward to her family’s day in court, ‘As a landowner, property rights are key to my livelihood and family legacy. A foreign corporation pumping foreign oil simply does not qualify as a common carrier under Texas law. TransCanada does not get to write their own rules. I look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case and our plea to protect the fundamental rights of property owners.’

The ruling on Wednesday from the Texas Supreme Court means that Crawford will be able to take the next step in the appeals process against TransCanada. The southern segment, also known as Gulf Coast Segment, stretches from Cushing, Oklahoma to Beaumont, Texas and carries tar sands or dilbit which is a combination of tar sands and chemicals that react very differently when spills occur than traditional Texas oil.

Thanks Babur Realer for the news tip.

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Photo by Elizabeth Izzo released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and