Eminent domain: To take - or not to take? No good answer

Thursday, August 10, 2017
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

oil pipeline constructionPipelines continue to present problems, and not just for environmentalists.

A judge has ruled that authorities can seize property in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where a company wants to install a natural gas pipeline. Meanwhile, in Nebraska at least one landowner doesn't want the Keystone XL oil pipeline to go through his property.

Jim Carlson, a farmer near Silver Creek, Nebraska, grows corn on the pipeline's proposed route. "We've got to continue to be vigilant and proactive," he told The Associated Press earlier this month. "TransCanada could be doing things just to throw us off."

OneNewsNow sought comment from William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the context of "eminent domain."

"In a perfect world, the company pays for this and land owners aggregate themselves or organize themselves in a fashion to either take advantage of the company's incentive or to not do so," he says – but, Yeatman continues, it's not a perfect world.

Yeatman

"In the world we live in, we have the Constitution and eminent domain is there .... So I realize that is a very unsatisfactory answer, but this is an issue where there are no real good answers on this – especially if you're coming at this as I am from a free-market perspective."

According to AP, Carlson said TransCanada has offered him $307,000 since the company first contacted him in 2013, but he refuses to sign an easement agreement to grant access to his land. To highlight his opposition, Carlson is installing solar panels on his land directly in the path of the proposed pipeline.

A similar situation has occurred in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where a coalition including Lancaster Against Pipelines and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ put up an outdoor chapel in the path of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

"It's not the percentage of land, it's the fact that it's their land," said Lori Ann Neumann of Lancaster Against Pipelines, in a July interview with OneNewsNow.com.

Meanwhile, America still runs on fossil fuels. Natural gas and coal remain the top sources for electricity generation, and oil is used for gasoline that powers the majority of automobiles.

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