Why You Should Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline
by Chris Mayer:
There is one
reason why you should oppose the proposed $5.3 billion Keystone
XL Pipeline. And it has nothing to do with green religionists,
as The Wall Street Journal calls the opposition in todays
has everything to do with a foreign oil company using U.S. government
power to force Americans off their land in the name of eminent
domain. It has everything to do with putting a 78-year-old
grandmother in jail, pepper-spraying protesters and using other
bullying tactics that would make the Mafia proud.
would connect the oil and gas producers in Western Canada with various
U.S. endpoints. There are all kinds of economic benefits for a new
pipeline. Youve probably heard about the 16,000 jobs, for
instance. Im not disputing the supposed benefits.
What I dont
like is the eminent domain abuse. In fact, I dont like eminent
domain at all. The fact that a government can force you off your
own property shows that property rights are not secure, even in
the U.S. As the great economist Murray Rothbard put it:
no one can say that the inviolability of private property is protected
by the government. And when government confers this power on a
particular business, it is conferring upon it the special privilege
of taking property by force.
is whats happening here. There have been many eminent domain
actions against property owners in Texas, for example. One of the
most famous is the case of the 78-year-old grandmother, Eleanor
Fairchild. Police arrested her and threw her in jail for a night.
Why? She was trespassing on her own farm! A Texas court condemned
the property at TransCanadas request after she refused to
sign over her property. They seized it anyway.
There are many
more such stories. All you have to do is Google TransCanada
Pipeline and eminent domain. You will find a long
trail of news stories covering the struggles of property owners
against the thuggish oil company and its bullying government henchmen.
Youll find the pepper-spraying protesters, threatening letters
and other nastiness. And youll find TransCanada stealing a
lot of property.
Here is an
excerpt from an article from the Austin-based Statesman:
pipelines southern segment doesnt require an international
permit. It crosses about 800 tracts of land in Texas. According
to The Associated Press, TransCanada has claimed eminent domain
to condemn more than 100 of those tracts an unusually high
condemnation percentage (about 12.5%) for a pipeline project in
of the pipeline overlook all this.
the rest of the article
Mayer is a veteran of the banking industry, specifically in the
area of corporate lending. A financial writer since 1998, Mr. Mayer's
essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications, from the
Mises.org Daily Article series to The Daily Reckoning. He
is the editor of Mayer's Special Situations and Capital and
Crisis formerly the Fleet Street Letter.
© 2012 Daily Reckoning