A Texas judge has temporarily halted construction on a portion of TransCanada’s Gulf Coast project while he considers whether bitumen from Canada’s oil sands meets the legal definition of crude oil, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Opponents of the Keystone XL project, which would move more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day, have long criticized the proposed pipeline because it would carry the “world’s dirtiest oil” through the heart of the United States.
Now Texas landowner Michael Bishop claims the bitumen that would be transported from Canada is a hazardous material, not crude oil.
A judge in Nacogdoches County has blocked TransCanada from working on Bishop’s property until he considers the issues raised by the retired Marine in a Dec. 13 hearing. (The hearing was originally set for Dec. 19, but the judge agreed to move it up at TransCanada’s request.)
Bishop also contends the Canadian company does not have the right to use eminent domain to secure access to land along the route of the pipeline.
“I will continue to stand up and fight for those that cannot fight for themselves against this gross travesty of justice,” Bishop said in a news release issued by Public Citizen Texas.