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Judge to rule on pipeline land-taking

San Antonio Express News -- Representatives for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline asked a Jefferson County judge Wednesday for an order to allow the company access to land it wants as part of a pipeline route, but Court-at-Law Judge Tom Rugg says he won't rule until Sept. 24.

One of the defendants, David Holland, owns 4,000 acres south of Beaumont. TransCanada wants to cross his property by acquiring more than 9,200 linear feet through it. Holland said the company is bullying him into accepting what he considers inadequate compensation and inadequate protection for groundwater on land used for raising cattle.

Plenty of pipelines cross his property now, he said. But the Keystone line would create what he's been told would be an “invisible barrier” that could not be crossed with heavy equipment used in farming,


Read the Full Article

Submitted Sep 13, 2012 By: Martinman
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: Judge to rule on pipeline land-taking Back to Topics
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 15, 2012 10:22:27 AM

Still a lot of pipelines but I agree with you. As more information comes forth and TransCanada keeps close mouthed and refuses to bury the line deeper under the canals, they are not working hard enough withe the landowner.
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Martinman
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Sep 15, 2012 7:30:12 AM

Wow. That's a nice distortion of what was actually stated. Kind of reminescent of another golfer from Houston...

Here's the NPR article:

TransCanada Faces Another Legal Challenge

And here's what the NPR article actually states:

"... Over the years, the brothers say they’ve generally had good relations with other companies, reaching financial deals to allow pipelines to cross their property.

“With all the pipelines that we have, there haven’t been condemnation threats until very recently. No one has pulled this one before,” James Holland told reporters outside the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Why the “threats”?

“To low ball us,” said James Holland.

“The bottom line is it’s all about money,” said David Holland. “We offered them the easement at a discount to fair market value but that wasn’t enough. They needed more of a discount.”

The Hollands have been here before: They fought a Texas-based company, Denbury Green Pipeline, and won a Texas Supreme Court ruling that said the company couldn’t use eminent domain.

But TransCanada argued that its case is different. For one, the company maintains that Keystone XL is a “common carrier” as required by Texas law, meaning that it will be used not just by TransCanada but other companies. And second, that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Denbury case applied only to pipelines that carried what Denbury’s would: carbon dioxide...."

-----

Kinda seems like someone was laying-in-wait with this article, after trying to bait me with the repeated "easement restrictions" questions.

So I kindly "obliged" - As Texas farm owners square off with TransCanada, pipeline opponents see an opening

The Edmonton Sun article is poorly written. The number of pipelines currently 'crossing' the Hollands 4,000 acres is 40 (not 50-60).

.
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 14, 2012 11:13:07 AM

Quote from attorney Robert Holland the landowner "“The bottom line is it’s all about money". /texas/2012/09/13/keystone-pipeline-in-texas-court-let-us-dig/

The rice farm already has 50-60 pipeline easements across it according an Edmonton Sun article /2012/09/12/group-in-texas-involved-in-a-legal-battle-to-halt-albertas-keystone-pipeline

As much as I don't like the idea of eminent domain it still is the law.
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sts808
Veteran Author Honolulu

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Message Posted: Sep 14, 2012 7:27:40 AM

ok
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carinthuist
Champion Author San Francisco

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:14:53 PM

wonderful
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LetemEatCake
Champion Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:08:26 PM


Good article Martin!
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my2002m
Champion Author Tulsa

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 10:23:05 PM

They have to pay for the rights to use it.
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NHLiveFree
Champion Author New Hampshire

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 10:08:12 PM


Thanks so much for spying and informing on private landowners here docp, er teenitup.

Your inquisitve and prying nature is so needed here.

Eminent Domain should only be used by our local, state, and federal government. Delegating it to a private corporation is absurd!
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teafortwo
Champion Author Washington

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 9:34:11 PM


Many of these properties are active working farms and ranchers. Bisecting the land with a huge pipeline carrying hot, toxic goo would be very disruptive to business.

As far as usual industry tactics and politics? What's the going price for a judge these days?
The oil & gas industry representatives here on GB should be able to give us that information :0\
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 9:03:03 PM

Well, I did a little more poking around.

Searching Wiki, I found that David C Holland is not a rancher or rice farmer. He is a co-owner with his brother of 4000 acres of land that is actually farmed by Mike Latta who leases the land from the Hollands.

David Holland is a Houston attorney with his own firm Holland and Associates, with an uptown Houston (Galleria area) office location. He is also the owner of Holland Investment company, located in the same office suite on Sage Rd. in Houston.
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FunMyster
All-Star Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 8:19:06 PM

OK
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 7:53:54 PM

Martinman "First, realize that this landowner - a cattle rancher and rice farmer - is permanently losing the use of the easement area on his land, based upon the easement restrictions TransCanada is placing on all landowners.

Second, Holland will have to replace 100 feet of fencing, with 18,400 feet of fencing, plus shoulder the additional costs of maintaining that nearly 4 miles of additional fencing for at least the next 50 years, as he'll likely die before he ever sees the pipeline de-commissioned."

Martinman, I asked for your sources of these easement restrictions you say are placed on all landowners and your response was "There is no 'published' list. Each of these easements are negotiated between TransCanada and each individual landowner". Yet here you post it as fact? After stating "I don't post unsubstantiated information."?

I have searched and searched Mr. Thompson, the name you have me and while I can find plenty of articles, nowhere can I find anything to substantiate the easement restrictions you are talking about.

I'm going to continue to search for some pertinent info while awaiting those articles from you. Thanks again!
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Martinman
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 7:35:52 PM

DeeLA from Los Angeles posted...

"If this "invisible barrier would keep him from being able to maintain the feed crops without making miles of detours with his equipment, he should be given more compensation. It sounds as if this rancher has been cooperating with other companies and Keystone is making new kinds of provisions that the other companies have not imposed. "

-----

Here are additional landowner comments from the article, that would not fit in the snippet section above, for those that have not read the article:

"In comments before the hearing, Holland said the proposed line would make a hayfield useless for the next four years.

Holland said he doesn't oppose Keystone's line, which would carry crude oil from tar sands in Canada's northwest. He does oppose TransCanada's lack of what he considers adequate environmental protection and a “lowball” compensation offer, which he said would put him $30,000 in the hole."

-----

I see several people here (e.g. DeeLA) get it. Just so you know, these restrictions are not unique to Phase III portion of the project in Texas.

TransCanada had placed these same easement restrictions along the entire length of the completed and proposed segments of the Keystone XL pipeline. This was one of the primary complaints by Nebraskan ranchers, that brought ranchers, environmentalists, and the Tea Party together in opposition to the proposed route through Nebraska.

-----

First, realize that this landowner - a cattle rancher and rice farmer - is permanently losing the use of the easement area on his land, based upon the easement restrictions TransCanada is placing on all landowners.

Second, Holland will have to replace 100 feet of fencing, with 18,400 feet of fencing, plus shoulder the additional costs of maintaining that nearly 4 miles of additional fencing for at least the next 50 years, as he'll likely die before he ever sees the pipeline de-commissioned.

Third, Holland will have to drive extended distances every time he has to access the divided portions of his property to feed, attend to, and maintain his cattle; to plant, tend, and harvest rice. And he's permanently lost the use of the land for growing hay to feed his cattle - why? How can you harvest hay, on ground on which you cannot drive heavy equipment? How can you graze cattle, on ground that you cannot fence?

Those are just two of the restrictions that TransCanada is attempting to impose in taking his property.

How many additional miles of travel and lost time will he expend daily, every time he has to access the "other" side of his property? How will that impact his planting and harvesting time-budgets? In many areas of Texas you have to drive miles to the next nearest public road. Have any of you ever driven *around* the King Ranch, south of Corpus Christi? Imagine if the King Ranch property were subdivided by an easement the owner could not cross.

Anyone know what one single round-bale of hay costs now? In July it was $85 to $100 PER BALE, depending on your proximity to drought stricken areas - and the price will continue to climb now that the growing season is essentially over. Just a handful of horses can require over 100 round-bales over the course of one winter. What do you think a herd of cattle require?

The last two analysis of what the landowners received, in compensation for their easements, amounted to less than $5 per acre, per year - including a cattle rancher in Nebraska that faced the same easement restrictions.

Holland will spend that in gas the first trip the first vehicle has to make, on January 1st each and every year, for the rest of his life...

.

[Edited by: Martinman at 9/13/2012 8:40:49 PM EST]
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Tomeboy
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 7:30:25 PM


TransCanada: USA - The Outer Limits of Canada
-----------------------------------------------

Episode 1: Pipe Dreams - Keystone XL Pipeline

Brought to you by: TransCanada – Canadian Tar Sands Oil Exporter

WARNING: Mind control and subliminal messages may be encountered during this episode.

TransCanada Disclaimer: There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image; make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great TransCanada pipeline adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the USA – The Outer Limits of Canada.

"We now return control of your television set to you, until next week, at the same time when the Control Voice will take you to... THE OUTER LIMITS."

Be sure to join us next week for another subliminal filled and mind bending episode of TransCanada. USA - The Outer Limits of Canada.

This week’s sponsor: China

Next week’s episode: Eminent Domain in the USA turns to Imminent Domain for TransCanada

Plotline: Find out how a foreign Canadian pipeline company can gain right of way access in the USA by using eminent domain and cash payouts to install its pipeline. Notable quotes from this show: “This land is your land… but thanks to your eminent domain it’s our land too,” “Don’t try and stop us… when push comes to shove… you’ll lose.” and "Our boundaries are limitless and so is our cash."

TransCanada… “We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive.”

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Martinman
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 7:21:58 PM

Sorry, the Political trolling forum is found here

[Edited by: Martinman at 9/13/2012 8:22:39 PM EST]
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A_NY_Outlaw
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 6:43:05 PM

All a bit of a bluff. Since King Obama and his band of royal misfits put the kabob on the pipeline, Keystone is putting up a bit of brushback. If you ask me this is a result of the Obama regime incompetence.
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Agarre
Champion Author Richmond

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 4:56:19 PM

so ?
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 4:26:41 PM

PDQBlues, this judge is a simple County Court at Law Judge. Jurisdiction is soley within the county represented. I hardly think that the bribery you are insinuated would be a factor.

Like I said, no matter how he rules he will be vilified.
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PDQBlues
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 4:00:40 PM

Many of these judges are as corrupted as the politicians. So when money became free speech, those without money became politically silenced. I hope the judge follows the Constitution and does the right thing, but I have my doubts.
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 3:39:22 PM

Thanks! Being from Houston it's practically in my backyard!

In the meantime I'll keep poking around too!
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Martinman
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 3:30:51 PM

There is no 'published' list. Each of these easements are negotiated between TransCanada and each individual landowner. What ends-up in the press, are what the reporters glean from landowner interviews, and from the courtroom testimony.

I don't post unsubstantiated information. If the information were from a blog (which this is not), I would not reference it unless it was linked to supporting credible information.

I'll see what links I can find, from the Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota landowner disputes, but older press links are often deleted after time. We'll see what I find that's still active.

The Nebraska dispute that immediately comes to mind, was a rancher named Mr. Thompson - I don't recall his first name, but he too was a rancher that was having his property bisected, that got coverage in the press.

.

[Edited by: Martinman at 9/13/2012 4:39:49 PM EST]
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 3:13:53 PM

No, I don't automatically believe TransCanada's website but neither do I believe everything that is posted in blogs without substantiation. I'm just skeptical I guess!

You seem to have a lot of knowledge on the subject and posted some info but I can't seem to find verification and that's why I asked. I know a little about land ingress and egress though and you can't be denied access to property you still own no matter what is negotiated. That would void a contract would it not?

Any way, thanks for the reply and if you could show a link to those restrictions on the Nebraska ranchers it would be great!

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Martinman
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 3:06:07 PM

Here's something I came across earlier today.

Its video interviews with some of those "willing" 1300+ Texas landowners, and some of those that have chosen to fight-back:

Texas landowners fight use of Eminent-Domain Laws in Keystone

This a series of 14 video-taped landowner interviews.

- the first two segments contain multiple individuals, including one in which TransCananda tresspassed on his propoerty to survey and mark his property, without his knowledge

- segment #10 is a former pipeline welder who has oil and gas pipelines on his property, but does not want Keystone XL

- segment #11 a husband/wife who's development will be impacted
(TransCanada offered them $6,600 for rights that will affect over $200,000 worth of property development)

- segment #13 is testimony of the wife of a former Hunt Oil Company exec., also opposed to the pipeline

- segment #14 is of a landowner er confrontation with a pipeline surveyor that showed-up un-announced on her property.

.

[Edited by: Martinman at 9/13/2012 4:13:48 PM EST]
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Martinman
Champion Author Mississippi

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 2:33:26 PM

Easement restrictions are part of the negotiation process that each landowner engages in, as part of the overall process. What restrictions TransCanada attempts to place is dependent upon TransCanada in its exercise of Eminent Domain.

If you're going to rely on what TransCanada has posted to its website, I have some beach-front property in Hawaii you might be interested in. Its in a 'red hot' location...!

The restictions to land-use identified by Mr. Holland, match those restrictions TransCanada attempted to imposed on other ranchers in Nebraska, that have also been published repeatedly in the press.

Additionally in Mr. Hollands case, TransCanada has refused to meet his requests that are designed to protect his property and ability to continue to derive his livelihood from it. It is the same requests that all other prior pipeline owners have agreed to with the exception of Denbury.

Wow, imagine that! There's Denbury Pipeline again...

.
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tomok
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 2:02:59 PM

Your Land is Your Land! As long as you pay the land taxes, pay your mortgage and have been farming it for as long as you have - NOBODY has the right to take or use any part of Your Land without Your Approval!!! TransCanada Is a Bully and needs to be stopped, the pipeline needs to be rerouted, the judge needs to rule for the land owners! The US federal government does Not have any right to the same tactics as TransCanada or anybody else.
Build the pipeline and it will flow.
Whatever the size or shape of the vehicle, Produce and ‘Drive’ vehicles with high MPG, are very reliable, have a ‘reasonable’ cost and a good ‘value’ for the money.
The price of fuel at the pump is too high!
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teenitup
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 1:38:46 PM

Martinman, could you please post what these restrictions are listed on a web source?

What this rancher is saying is somewhat contradictory to what is on TransCanada's website.

"The easement specifies an area within which certain activities are restricted or prohibited, with the primary goal of keeping the pipeline safe. For example, while buildings and excavation are restricted in the right-of-way, normal farming and cultivation practices are not impacted."

I'm also pretty sure that TransCanada or any other easement leaseholder cannot deny access to the landowner. Right of ways may be fenced but access like gates etc. can be placed anywhere for access. You cannot be landlocked from your property. These claims seem very strange from a landowner that already has numerous pipeline easements across his property. 

I do not favor eminent domain but it is the current law and without it not much infrastructure would be in place.

It looks like the Judge can only interpret the law. He's going to be vilified either way he decides.

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BurtB
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 1:11:40 PM

Conservatives would support the landowner, against the Pipeline company.

Private property is the bedrock that the USA is built on. Equal before the law comes from the idea that Private property is owned, and "unfair taking" is a violation of the "laws of Nature and Nature's God".
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hank1326
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:52:52 PM

Time will tell the truth.
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orcar
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:40:19 PM

No one should be forced to sell or allow another access to their property.
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WGW1
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:19:25 PM

another money rules thing
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GryphonX
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:10:10 PM

I have mixed feelings about this ...
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Dennisjk
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:07:47 PM

Good luck with that. I wonder who has more money to fight.
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waterwerks
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:06:55 PM

interesting...
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bigLtowing
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:06:42 PM

mmmmmmmmmmmmm have to keep an eye on this one
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Bigtex09
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:04:19 PM

interesting
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gasbuddyVA
All-Star Author Fayetteville

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:02:22 PM

Putting a pipeline in for the good of all is fine - but putting one in that prevents him from farming is ridiculos!! they should have to toughen up the pipe!!!
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svspyda
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 12:00:35 PM

okay
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dan30thz28
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:58:27 AM

Not good.
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arnerator
Champion Author Seattle

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:58:02 AM

They are turning the land into a mass of mole tunnels.
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bigrigAZ
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:55:31 AM

If it affects the land owner so much that he can't access his own land then they should pay up - they are going to make millions off of this pipeline.
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deaconjones
Champion Author Cleveland

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:54:39 AM

THE JUDGE WANTS MORE OF A PAYOFF....CROOKS....
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wang91554
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:53:14 AM

pay up
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ace12012
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:52:31 AM

interesting article.
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AnObserver
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:51:32 AM

Eminent domain is necessary in many instances but it must fairly compensate the landowners. An 'invisible barrier' that can't be crossed with farming equipment is not reasonable.
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pecos
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:51:25 AM

Gotta pay fair price to the owner.
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Elaine4411
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:50:51 AM

Ok
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HA4CNN
Champion Author Toronto

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:50:45 AM

The only reason that it ends up in court is because you do not have any rights over land that you do not hold allodial title to.
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rjd1608
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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:50:39 AM

ok
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Bud122CA
Champion Author California

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:48:53 AM

To bad the Gov't has to get involved. Why don't they just offer the land owners a good price.
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btex49
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:46:17 AM

It appears to me that the issue is the value of the "invisible barrier," for which TransCanada needs to ante up. It doesn't appear to me that the landowner is being unreasonable.
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