Keystone pipeline firm files for eminent domain against Nebraska landowners

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Is the land you own yours or is it subject to the power of large monied interests? This is part of the debate around the Keystone Pipeline.

Though the discussion has been characterized mostly in environmental terms, polarizing greens and not-so-greens, XL is in many ways also a challenge to fundamental property rights. This is what concerns me most.

Almost 100 Nebraska landowners are fighting the pipeline on the grounds that they simply don’t want the thing running over their property for whatever reason. And frankly, it’s their land. TransCanada should either buy these folks out for vast sums (if they can) or go around them.

Both options of course cost big money. It’s way easier to build a straight pipe than it is to slalom one through ornery landowners. But if TransCanada really wants the pipeline I am sure the company can find a way. They shouldn’t be able to use eminent domain to bully landowners into giving up their property.

That might be cool in Canada, but in the USA it’s not supposed to be.

(From The LA Times)

In this round of lawsuits, only landowners with written proof that TransCanada plans to build the pipeline on their property are involved. They have not yet been served with eminent domain notices, but they received a Dec. 15 letter announcing the company’s final offer before notices would be filed.

“I didn’t appreciate getting a letter at Christmastime saying, ‘Sign up now, because all offers will be off the table,’” said Nancy Allpress, whose family farm is bisected by the proposed pipeline route and who will be part of the suit against TransCanada.

“It’s our land,” said Allpress, whose farm has been in her husband’s family since 1886. “This is a foreign-owned company coming in and exercising eminent domain against our will for a project we believe is of no benefit to the United States. TransCanada has behaved like bullies with threatening tactics.”

Click here for the article.