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Judge Rules In Favor of TransCanada In Eminent Domain Dispute

August 29th, 2012

According to an article featured in the Washington Post, Bill Harris, a Lamar County judge has ruled that TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has the right of eminent domain. TransCanada is a gas company which is attempting to build one of the largest pipelines in North America which will transport crude oil from Canada to Port Arthur, Texas. Sources say the judge rejected the argument of farm manager Julia Trigg Crawford and dealt a blow to landowners and environmentalists who have been resisting construction of the pipeline.

Legal sources say the ruling removes another obstacle which stood in the way of the pipeline. Further, TransCanada says that it plans to start building the pipeline as soon as possible. The President said it would alleviate a supply bottleneck at Cushing, where the benchmark price of oil is set for the U.S. market. However, critics of the pipeline wish to delay construction because of threats to rivers and wetlands.

The landowner in the case, Crawford, argued that the Keystone XL pipeline was not entitled to eminent domain because the pipeline would not be a common carrier, open to a variety of oil companies. Crawford argued that the pipeline should be characterized a private project and TransCanada needed to negotiate rights of way without compelling landowners to enter agreements. Legal sources say that usually the right of eminent domain for pipelines is granted by state agencies. In Texas, the right of eminent domain is regulated through the Texas Railroad Commission.

In an email, Crawford stated that she was extremely disappointed in the judge’s ruling and “disturbed that a foreign corporation like TransCanada is allowed to hide behind the skirt of the Texas Railroad Commission and its Common Carrier rubber stamp.”

If you have questions about an oil or gas pipeline running through your property, contact the Amaro Law Firm for a free and private case evaluation toll free at 1-877-892-2797 or locally at 713-864-1941.

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