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June 03, 2013

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Julia Trigg Crawford
Julia Trigg Crawford on her land

This Land Is My Land

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Except when it isn't.

We check back in with Julia Trigg Crawford who is fighting the TransCanada Corporation as it lays pipe for the XL Pipeline.  When Julia started her fight, less than a year ago, she was sure she could stop the company from digging up the land she’d inherited from her family. But the digging has begun – in spite of ongoing litigation.  

See a slideshow of her land here

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We requested a response from TransCanada, and received the following:

There is no issue with the safety or integrity of the completed portion of the Gulf Coast Pipeline in East Texas. Before any of our projects go into commercial service, they go through many different kinds of tests and inspections - using some very precise and specialized equipment that can detect minute imperfections.

We have already inspected and tested portions of the pipeline using water pressure and remote sensing. We have used ultrasonic inspection tools to inspect each weld (TransCanada is one of the only companies to employ this type of technology to inspect welds). And recently, we used some of our inline inspection tools to identify issues that may been introduced to the pipe during construction or in the process of refilling the trench in which the pipeline is buried. This is standard procedure - we do this after a line is completed and buried, and throughout its operating life.

These inspections revealed some imperfections that were created on the outside of the pipeline when the trench was backfilled. We have identified nine sections that we will. By law, we are required to replace a minimum of nine feet - meaning that in total we are replacing about 81 feet of pipeline in the interest of safety and making sure that we do everything reasonable to protect the integrity of this pipeline that will operate for decades to come. We are replacing 81 feet out of 423,000 feet already inspected - that is equivalent to 0.00019139886 percent, less than 2 thousandths of one percent. This is expected and part of the normal construction and certification process all of our pipelines go through before they are given approval to go into commercial service.

The construction of the Gulf Coast Pipeline is about 75 per cent complete, and our testing and inspection work is well underway in areas where work has already been completed. This work will continue over the next few months and if our continuing inspections shows us that other work needs to be completed before the line comes into commercial service in late 2013, we will do that. That is what the public expects and that is what we expect. We take safety very seriously and this shows just how important designing, building and operating a safe pipeline is to TransCanada.

As we are in litigation with Ms. Crawford, it would not be prudent for TransCanada to make a general comment about the specific statements you indicate Ms. Crawford has made. If you can be specific, we can respond accordingly.

That having been said, TransCanada has followed Texas statute to the letter in all of its landowner relationships in Texas. Unfortunately, in a small percentage (fewer than 6%) of the cases, we have been unable to reach agreement with landowners. In some cases, including Ms. Crawford's, we pursued our legal rights under Texas law and acquired permission from the court to build on property even while the easement rights were in dispute in the courts. This access to the easement is not new, nor is it unique. It has been the law in Texas since 1917.

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Music

"23" by Blonde Redhead; "fiery Crash" by Andrew Bird

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