"One local faith leader, Kyle Childress, Pastor at Austin Heights Baptist Church also spoke at the event saying, "I am glad that members of my congregation who are concerned about both the health and safety of their families and of the environment will be provided this source of empowerment and hope."
The Keystone XL pipeline is highly controversial in East Texas, with landowners reporting intimidation and unfair treatment by TransCanada’s agents. The hotline will provide a resource for citizens to anonymously register complaints against TransCanada, and connect to local citizen groups organizing against the pipeline. The hotline provides menu options for some common abuses seen by Texas landowners and citizens. One option asks, “If you believe TransCanada or one of its agents has illegally trespassed on your land, press 3.”
"This hotline will help East Texans from having their rights trampled by TransCanada’s toxic oil rush,” said David Daniel, a landowner from Winnsboro who spoke at the event. “When I discovered surveyors on my property a few months ago, I didn’t know where to turn for help. Now, I can connect with my neighbors and together we can organize to defend our land and quality of life.”
Many East Texas landowners are concerned about the potential for a toxic oil spill from the Keystone XL pipeline, which could destroy crucial water supplies for farms, fishing and tourism industries, and drinking water. If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would transport up to 900,000 gallons per day of heated, high-pressure oil across rivers and drainages that feed 21 lakes and municipal reservoirs in Texas.
2,554 oil pipeline spills occurred in the U.S. between 2000-2009. In July 2010, an pipeline rupture in Michigan spilled more than 819,000 gallons of toxic tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River, a tributary of Lake Michigan.
“A pipeline leak is not a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when,’” said Daniel. “This is our home and was supposed to be a safe place to raise our daughter, and now it’s at risk for an oil disaster.”
Landowners with the pipeline on their property are not the only ones concerned about the Keystone XL project. Vicki Baggett, a Nacogdoches landowner and concerned citizen spoke at the event saying, “The countless environmental and safety risks associated with this pipeline will have a dramatic impact on all East Texans. Furthermore, this is not the last time a pipeline will be proposed by TransCanada. If we let this company harass and bully landowners on this project, who’s to say it won’t be my property next time.”
The Texas whistleblower hotline marks the expansion of a hotline launched in Nebraska several months ago. The Nebraska hotline has fielded dozens of questions and concerns regarding TransCanada’s treatment of landowners and abusive tactics to gain access to land for the Keystone XL pipeline
The event was co-hosted by the Stop Tarsands Oil Pipeline (STOP) Coalition and the Sierra Club. To voice concerns regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, the number for the hotline is 1-866-363-4648.