Nacogdoches land owner's legal battle against pipeline attracts national media attention

Published: Nov. 7, 2013 at 10:58 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches county man and the progression of his lawsuits opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline are back in the news.

East Texas News has frequently reported on Mike Bishop by keeping you updated on his various lawsuits. Now a national news outlet is taking notice. Bishop's legal battles against permitting agencies may set precedent for other legal battles up and down the pipeline.

The Douglass Corner Cafe sets the scene where Bishop reviews a court document he'll file tomorrow in federal court.

It's the kind of grassroots legal battle that sparked the interest of a Bloomberg Businessweek reporter who called Bishop late last night. It's not every day a small East Texas landowner wins a legal step against the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for permitting the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, the same pipeline that now runs through Bishop's 20 acres.

"This case is important. It's critical because I'm representing landowners that are victims of eminent domain abuse," Bishop said. "This pendulum has swung way too far."

The Corps failed to respond to Bishop's lawsuit. Now he'll ask the judge to revoke the permit and order public hearings that were never initially held. It's one of several lawsuits pertaining to the pipeline Bishop has filed. The stand with Texas campaign coordinated by landowners against TransCanada pipeline is closely watching for outcomes.

"We're at our crossroads here on the Keystone XL fight and whatever we do in Texas will help the people in the north because if we establish case law than that case law can be used by landowners up and down the pipeline," said Chris Wynnyk, the executive director of Land Owners Against TransCanada Pipeline.

The movement also establishes fundraisers for Bishop's flings. Eventually, the 65-year-old who is also studying to be a doctor will probably need an attorney.

"I'm very pleased," Bishop said. "For a dumb country boy to be able to hold his own in a court of law I think is pretty cool."

Just out of town, grass has overgrown where the pipeline runs below. It still sits idle, very unlike Bishop who relies on grassroots efforts to keep his battle moving.

Messages were left with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and with the TransCanada Corporation. So far, there has been no response from the corps.

A spokesman with TransCanada said he's hoping to send a statement soon.

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