The Libertarian Patriot
I fully support the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline and feel it is wrong for the Obama administration to block it, but I am also a firm believer in property rights. While I can understand the argument that municipalities may need to take land for public projects, an overwhelming argument must be made in the state's favor.
Take the case of Hope Ingersoll in Massachusetts for example. For decades, the state wanted to take her 900 acre farm and cut a highway right through it, but Ms Ingersoll objected...
She even went to great lengths and much expense to show there was an alternate path that the state could use which, while extending the path of the highway, would take 1/10th of her land than the original design. In the end, Ms Ingersoll prevailed and the highway was completed but not after hundreds of thousand of people, like my family, were subjected to massive traffic jams for many years on our way to the Cape for a weekend getaway.
What I am dead set against however is when the state takes land by eminent domain and gives it to a private company.
We have all heard of Kelo v. City of New London where the SCOTUS ruled against homeowner Susette Kelo in her battle against the city of New London CT where the city wanted to take her land so pharmaceutical giant Pfizer could expand it's research center into an "urban village". Today the land still sits vacant, except for a dump for debris from Hurricane Irene, as Pfizer pulled out of New London in 2010.
Well TransCanada, who has proposed the Keystone XL pipeline, is trying to use the tactic of eminent domain to take the land of Julia Trigg Crawford of Paris TX for their use.
For a private entity to plunder the property of a landowner is just another form of income redistribution and should not be tolerated. It is a core principle of our nation that private property rights are sacred and must remain so.
Private property rights advocates rallied Friday in Austin in support of a Northeast Texas landowner who was in court in Paris to defend the taking of her land by pipeline company TransCanada Corp.Via Memeorandum
The Calgary-based TransCanada is in the process of trying to secure land in East Texas through the use of eminent domain to possibly run pipeline that would bring Canadian crude to the Texas Gulf Coast through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
But the protesters outside state offices in Austin — along with Julia Trigg Crawford , the landowner in Paris — wanted to send a message to the company and to Texas policymakers: TransCanada shouldn't have the right to take Texans' land. They said the company has gone too far in its use of eminent domain, the process of taking private land for public use.
TransCanada follows the law and treats landowners with "honesty, fairness and respect," company spokesman Terry Cunha said in a statement Friday. He added that TransCanada has easement agreements in place with more than 99 percent of the landowners along the proposed route.
Crawford, who owns a 600-acre farm in Direct, on the Red River, said she wouldn't oppose the taking of private property through eminent domain for essential purposes, such as delivering water or power to the state's residents. She could even understand taking land for a highway, but not for nonvital reasons, she said.
"When it is used by an entity whose purpose is not charitable, when it is for a for-profit endeavor, that sure doesn't sound good," Crawford said.
Proponents have touted the proposed $7 billion, 830,000-barrel-a-day Keystone XL pipeline as a massive job creator that would help wean the United States off dependence on Middle East oil.
On Monday, Crawford secured a temporary restraining order preventing TransCanada from getting on her land. On Friday, she had to go to court for a hearing in which the company sought to have the order dissolved. Crawford said she expects a decision next week.
One of the Austin protesters, Chris Wilson, a pipeline consultant, said Crawford's situation was emblematic of property owners' battles across the state.
"Landowners have had it with a foreign company trying to take our land away," Wilson said.