At the heart of the dispute is whether the heavy, polluting thick tar sands bitumen actually constitutes “crude oil”.
Texas landowner Michael Bishop, who owns 20 acres of land near Douglas, some 160 miles north of Houston, is defending himself in the David versus Goliath legal fight.
He maintains that TransCanada lied to Texans when it said it would be using KXL to transport crude oil. Bishop argues that tar sands oil does not meet the definition as outlined in Texas and federal statutory codes which define crude oil as “liquid hydrocarbons extracted from the earth at atmospheric temperatures.”
He told the Associated press: “They lied to the American people”. When tar sands is extracted, the material is almost a solid and “has to be heated and diluted in order to even be transmitted”. He argues that this diluted bitumen is not classified as crude oil.
Speaking outside the courthouse (pictured) after the hearing where he had applied for both a temporary and permanent injunction, Bishop said: “The basis of the lawsuit is fraud. TransCanada has defrauded the American people, misrepresented this pipeline and the material that is being pushed through this pipeline or will be pushed through it. It is not crude oil.”
According to the ENS-Newswire, Bishop also told reporters “I took the bull by the balls and filed for a temporary restraining order with the court and a lawsuit. I have demanded a jury trial and paid the fee for a jury trial. In the end it goes before a jury and when it does, we the people will win.”
He added: “I’m an analytical chemist. I analyzed the facts, the state and federal definitions of what constitutes diluted bitumen and what constitutes crude oil. Crude oil is liquid hydrocarbons and this material is not that. They have no argument, they have no case.”
The Texas County Court Judge has now issued an injunction preventing TransCanada working until a hearing on the 19 December, although the Associated Press reports that this has now been brought forward to tomorrow.
The Judge ruled, “It clearly appears from the Application and Affidavit of Plaintiff Michael Bishop, that sufficient cause exists to issue a temporary restraining order until the merits of the Application can be presented to a jury.”
TransCanada is trying to argue that the injunction will not stop construction work on Bishop’s land. A spokesperson David Dodson, said: “We are on track to bring this pipeline into operation in late 2013”.
I don’t want to ruin your Christmas, David, but many people have other ideas to make sure its not built at all…