Last updated on 2014.07.28
Ever since TransCanada first threatened to use eminent domain to build its tar sands oil pipelines, I've been frustrated at conservatives' relative silence on the issue. A foreign company uses the American court system to take property rights away from South Dakotans and other Americans, not to build roads or bridges that everyone gets to use, but to build pipelines that carry its own product for its own profit. We won't even benefit indirectly from the oil, as TransCanada will raise our prices while selling the crude to China. Foreigners, land rights, state power trumping individual liberty—my conservative friends ought to be all over this issue. Instead, in the face of actions closer to tyranny than anything the Fox News parrots generally rant about, my conservative neighbors shrug at and even facilitate TransCanada's land grab.
I am thus heartened to find this headline on Fox News: "It's Your Land: Enormous Pipeline Impacts Thousands of Homeowners in Six States." Fox's Maggie Kerkman leads off not with corporate spin or encomia for Canadian oil, but a conversation with an East Texas landowner distraught over the destruction TransCanada promises on her 300-plus-acre patch of paradise:
Fairchild says "upset" doesn't begin to describe how she feels about the pipeline coming through her property. "They're going to come in and take down trees," she says. "Bulldoze them down.... They tell you it's eminent domain."
Fairchild has decided to get an attorney and fight the pipeline. David Daniel, Fairchild's neighbor a few miles down the road, says he made a deal with TransCanada, but only because he thought he had no choice. He says company representatives told him the pipeline was a done deal, something he found out later was not the case. Says Daniel, "From what I've been through personally, I have no reason to trust the company. At all" [Maggie Kerkman, "It's Your Land: Enormous Pipeline Impacts Thousands of Homeowners in Six States," FoxNews.com, 2011.04.26].
Fox News doesn't leap right out and say President Obama should stop TransCanada from usurping any more Americans' property rights, but for conservative media usually nothing but apologetic for Big Oil, this attention to landowners' travails seems remarkable. If more conservatives would get true to their roots (Kristi?) and speak up for landowners, perhaps we could get some respect from TransCanada.
Related: Some Nebraska landowners continue to say no way, no how to letting TransCanada take their land rights and put their cattle, crops, and water in peril.
Also related: Pete Carrels and Dr. Jim Heisinger will take on some Hyperion flunkies on the radio this noon! Listen to SDPB's Dakota Midday (noon Central, 11 Mountain) to hear why building a new oil refinery in Union County would be bad for South Dakota and bad for our nation's continuing addiction to fossil fuels.