Articles

Eminent Domain


I’m a farmer. I’ve been here a few years. My family’s been here
a few years. Some of this land has been in
the family since ’55. 1855. I raise cattle. Crop land I raise corn and cotton and hay and that’s what I love to do. In 2013 I was approached
by a pipeline company to put a petroleum pipeline
across my land. It was a line coming from
the Permian basin down to the coast. The first easement offer
that I got, regardless of the money, the language was extremely in
favor of the pipeline company there was no landowner
protections at all in the easement language. It took me aback. I took it, of course, and looked
at it and thought about it. And the land man kept calling me
and calling me, and calling me. And finally I said, “I’ve got to
have more landowner protections.” And he sent me another
offer that included two landowner protections. And that was sort of insulting. So finally I got my act together
and I met with my land man, and I said, “Look.
I need THIS protection.” He said,
“Hmm, okay I can put that in.” “Okay, I need THIS protection.” He says, “Yeah, I can do that.” “I need THAT language in here.” He said, “Yeah, I’m authorized
to put these in.” And we went down the list
of what I needed, And he says, “Yeah, I’m
authorized to do that. Yeah, I’m
authorized to do that.” So I said, “Well if you’re
authorized to do that, then why didn’t you put it in
the language to begin with?” He says, “Well first of all we just require that the
landowner ask for these things if you don’t ask,
you don’t get them, but if you ask for them, sure we’re
authorized to put them in.” And I said, “Why didn’t you put
it in the original offer?” He said, “Well… the pipeline company wants to
get every easement that they can all in favor of them not the landowner.” I guess the two points that
I come away with is that Number one, if a land man drives up
and has an offer, just ignore the money
first of all. Because the money is not
the important thing. The language is important. Do not sign the first offer. Do not sign on the car hood. But look at it and get
your protections. And number two, I think there needs to be a set
of landowner protections that is required to go into
every easement. For us land is not a commodity
to buy and sell. It’s heritage land
that we live on. It’s our way of life. I understand that eminent domain
is needed. Let’s be sensible about it. Let’s protect the people that
are affected by eminent domain. And let’s realize that we’re
going through people’s livelihoods and their homes. Not just open space land,
or undeveloped land. This is some people’s place
of living and working.

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