Tar Sands Oil, or Diluted Bitumin, Is Toxic
There is no question that even TransCanada acknowledges that tar sands oil is more of an environmental threat that traditional oil that comes out of the ground as a liquid. Environmentalists point to the 2010 failure of an Enbridge corporation pipeline that dumped about a millions gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, where the clean-up continues after more than two years and a still-rising cost of $800 million. TransCanada says its pipelines are state of the art in security.
There is no question that Texas crude oil and Canadian tar sands oil are significantly different substances in reality. But reality won't matter that much to the court. What will matter is whether the substance TransCanada wants to ship more than 2,000 miles across the United States fits the legal definition of crude oil in the statute or regulation the court considers most relevant.
Both sides say they have the law on their side in one form or another -- state regulations, state court decisions, federal regulations, even an Internal Revenue Service definition.
When Judge Sinz rescinded his injunction, national media responded with a burst of media coverage for the corporate victory, dwarfing the scant coverage of the injunction when it was granted. But few reports took detailed notice of the reality that the originally scheduled hearing on the facts is still scheduled for December 19.
Bishop Targets Pipeline, Judges, Texas Legislature
"Today I got knocked down, but I didn't get hurt, because I've got friends supporting me," and I've got truth on my side". I was forced to bring these people into court because they have not only defrauded me and other Texas landowners, they have defrauded the American public since the day this project was conceived and I am sick and tired of legislators, elected officials, county judges, county commissioners, district court judges that will rule in favor of a private foreign corporation carrying a hazardous material".
"I may lose again in the hearing on the 19th" [but] when the jury of landowners and taxpayers in this county hear my arguments and sit in that seat in that very courtroom that you all were in, the case is going to run opur way, we're going to be in charge, and then we're going after the Texas Legislature, we're going after the county commissioners and county judges, we're going to get justice."
Bishop has also filed suit against the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that regulates pipelines in Texas. Bishop's complaint asserts that the commission failed to protect the environment by failing to investigate the contents of the pipeline -- tar sands oil -- before granting TransCanada a permit.
Also on December 19, the Railroad commission will be the subject of a hearing on whether it should be disbanded. The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission will meet in Austin to take public comment and pipeline opponents are organizing people to testify against the commission for what they call "eminent domain abuse" and "tar sands fraud."