Central Texas Pipeline Reignites Fight Over Land Rights
By MOSE BUCHELE, KUT NEWS & MOSE BUCHELE, KUT NEWS
“”A fight over a pipeline is never only about the pipeline. It’s about the environment, property rights, public safety and a community’s sense of itself. Just such a fight is now brewing in the Texas Hill Country, where company Kinder Morgan plans to lay a part of its 430-mile natural gas Permian Highway Pipeline.
“One of the first questions we always get from a property owner is: ‘How in the world can a private, for-profit pipeline company take my land?’” says Luke Ellis, a lawyer representing landowners, including Sansom, in their negotiations with Kinder Morgan.
He says all a company has to do to claim the right to take land is fill out a form and file it with the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s strangely named oil and gas regulator
“You and I could form an LLC tomorrow and we could start to submit a T-4 permit to the Railroad Commission saying that our LLC wants to build a private, for-profit pipeline company,” Ellis says. “There’s virtually no oversight there.””
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