Nacogdoches judge vacates restraining order against TransCanada

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches County Court at Law Judge Jack Sinz' ruling Thursday morning was a disappointment for a courtroom full of TransCanada opponents and to Nacogdoches landowner Mike Bishop.

However, Bishop said he hasn't given up the fight.

"I lost the battle; I did not lose the war," Bishop said.

After granting a temporary restraining order on Friday that halted pipeline construction on Bishop's land, the judge's ruling Thursday will allow work to resume. The decision came after Sinz heard more details of Bishop's prior settlement with TransCanada. At the hearing, Bishop argued he and other landowners settled with the company under duress and coercion.

"How do you fight a billion dollar corporation?" Bishop said.

TransCanada claimed Bishop took their money then surprisingly filed a lawsuit against them less than two weeks later.

"[He] took $75,000 in cash, in a check, cashed it the next day, and in that settlement he agreed not to do what he did here which is to impede our access to his property," David Dodson, a spokesperson for TransCanada said.

Bishop said he paid about $3,200 cash out of pocket.

"They had to pay the Texas Veterans Land Board off," Bishop said. "They had to pay Veterans Land Board attorneys. They had to pay my attorney, and they had to pay for the water well they're fixing to destroy."

The former Marine said that he has regrouped and plans to attack with a new approach. The chemist wants to argue before a jury on a scientific basis that tar sands oil is not a form of crude oil.

"Science cannot be tinkered with," Bishop said. "You can't alter science to spin it to your advantage."

TransCanada attorney James freeman told the judge Bishop's narrow definition of crude oil doesn't apply. In court, Freeman spoke of a provision that he described as a "catchall for everything."

"We've managed to convince every judge in the state of Texas and every court of appeals that we have the right granted to us by the state and the Texas Legislature," Freeman said.

Mike Bishop has his arguments lined out before him. On Monday, he's scheduled to go before the Texas Railroad Commission in a lawsuit against that agency, and then he'll have to be back on the 19th to continue this battle.

Pipeline protesters were at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse Tuesday in support of Bishop's fight.

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