TransCanada, seeking to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas, was recently handed a major victory in its attempt to build the southern leg of its pipeline near Beaumont, TX. A judge has decided that developers of the planned pipeline can take land by eminent domain from property owners in a coastal Texas community.
Tom Zabel, a lawyer for TransCanada, told Jefferson County Court at Law Judge Tom Rugg Sr. that the pipeline operator believes it has the right under an 1899 Texas statute to start construction without obtaining possession through condemnation proceedings. He said the company has filed the necessary paperwork and posted the required bonds and that TransCanada should be allowed to proceed as pipelines have traditionally done in Texas.
"Once we've done that, we're entitled to the easements we're seeking. It's that simple," Zabel told Rugg. "The Texas Legislature came up with this scheme because it wanted to encourage oil and gas exploitation, and you can't have oil and gas without pipelines. This is something that's been determined in Texas for more than 100 years."
Zabel said the earlier Supreme Court ruling is not applicable to the type of pipeline TransCanada is planning with the Keystone XL.
TransCanada has already started construction on portions of the southern leg of its new Keystone XL pipeline in Texas while dealing with various property owners unsatisfied with TransCanada's plans.
The case here, in which TC believes it can construct the pipeline without property owner permission is certainly a case that homeowners should be concerned about in the future, no matter of their location.