The effect the Keystone XL Pipeline has had on some landowners

On behalf of Rock Palermo of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC posted in Oil and Gas on September 22, 2014.

The Keystone XL Pipeline, which many of our readers are quite familiar with, is a massive project that, if completed, will connect deposits of bitumen in Alberta, Canada with refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. Though it's assumed that the pipeline will eventually decrease America's dependency on foreign oil and therefore reduce gas prices across the nation, the project has come at a heavy cost.

As some of you may know, the Keystone XL Pipeline cuts through large portions of land that all have landowners. In order to build the pipeline, TransCanada must secure property easements with each landowner, offering them each fair market value for the land on which the pipeline will be built. But herein lies one of the many problems landowners have seen throughout the project.

According to some landowners, TransCanada has gone back on some original offers, decreasing the amount of compensation they would get from the easement. In some cases, the landowners have been told to take the decreased deal or risk litigation and have the land taken anyway. This has been particularly frustrating for many landowners who have learned that this can happen through expropriations and eminent domain.

Another issue some landowners have encountered is TransCanada's unwillingness to be held accountable for damage or contamination that has happened to a landowner's property. In one case, a landowner's septic system was severely damaged, causing considerable damage then to their home and making the family sick when sewage backed up into the home. But after nearly four years of struggling to get TransCanada to fix the damage with no success, it finally took a lawsuit before a settlement was reached and compensation was paid.

Because of how much money big oil companies make, many landowners never take their grievances to court because they are afraid they will not win the legal fight. This isn't always the case though and oil companies can be held accountable for their actions.

Source: The Texas Observer, "Crossing the Line," Saul Elbein, Sept. 17, 2014

Tags: Oil and Gas

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