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Home / Articles / Views / The Highroad /  Corporate arrogance and government ignorance
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Thursday, June 27,2013

Corporate arrogance and government ignorance

By Jim Hightower

 

 

Arrogance is an unpleasant trait, but when it’s overlaid with ignorance, it really gets ugly.

Meet Arrogance: TransCanada Corporation, a $1.3 billion pipeline giant based in Calgary, is now demanding a U.S. permit to run its Keystone XL pipeline right down our country’s center in order to move toxic tar sands sludge some 1,700 miles from northern Canada to export facilities on the Texas Gulf Coast. The environmental threat of this KXL pipe — which would cross thousands of farms, suburbs and water sources — has been widely reported. Less known, however, is that this foreign corporation has been crudely bullying American farm families and anyone else who dares to oppose its poisonous pursuit of profit.

Now, meet Ignorance: The Texas Railroad Commission, already infamous for its tail-wagging acceptance of any scam put forth by the corporations it’s supposed to regulate. Texas law meekly hands the public’s power of eminent domain to certain pipeline companies, allowing them to grab people’s land, usually at a low-ball price. To get this extraordinary power, however, the grabsters must be “common carriers,” meaning their pipelines are essentially public, available to all users. TransCanada’s line, however, exists solely for its private gain, so it is not qualified to use eminent domain.

Nonetheless, the high-handed Canadian outfit is using it. “Sell your property at our price,” TransCanada tells landowners, “or we’ll just take it.” How can it get away with this arrogance? Because the so-called watchdog agency benightedly accepts any pipeline corporation’s word that it is a common carrier. No questions asked.

The good news is that such Texans as Julia Trigg Crawford are rebelling against this toxic combo of ignorance and arrogance. To learn about her gutsy fight, go to www.StandWithJulia.com.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

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