Keystone XL —- TransCanada accused of pushing people around
In Keystone XL Pipeline Negotiations, Charges of Bad Faith Tactics. While TransCanada has maintained all along that its negotiations are fair and accomplished in good faith, landowner holdouts along the proposed six-state route for Keystone XL beg to differ. For instance, residents of Oklahoma and Texas — where oil is the economy’s bread and butter — are accustomed to navigating easement negotiations with domestic petroleum providers. But TransCanada’s approach evidently fired up these veterans. For instance, two advocacy organizations in Texas — Public Citizen Texas and Stop Tar Sands Oil Pipelines (STOP) — fielded dozens of complaints about how TransCanada land agents trespassed, didn’t offer specifics about Keystone XL carrying unconventional oil and were fuzzy about explaining pipeline safety precautions. “The reality is that people are being pushed around,” said Ryan Rittenhouse, a community organizer with Public Citizen Texas. “They are feeling intimidated and threatened by TransCanada, which is using the threat of eminent domain to coerce landowners into signing a contract they don’t want to sign.” In response to those concerns, TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha told SolveClimate News that he intends on following up with company land agents to research the details of the complaints. He added that the agents keep records of all of their meetings with property owners. Harlan Hentges, the attorney representing two generations of an Oklahoma family in a condemnation legal challenge, concluded TransCanada behaved inappropriately by approaching landowners one at a time. Rural residents, he emphasized, tend to be older, less savvy about their legal rights and not financially stable enough to afford legal counsel. “TransCanada’s argument is, ‘We acted in good faith.’ My argument is that you didn’t explain who you were and what you were doing,” Hentges claimed. “They acted as if this was nothing different from what went on before with Oklahoma-based pipelines. I don’t think anything about that could be considered good faith.” Montana More Progressive? No doubt, the Keystone XL pipeline’s path slices through ecologically valuable but deeply conservative territory in the nation’s heartland. So, while “takings” rhetoric espoused by politicians might sound as if states are intent on looking out for the rights of the pioneering and rugged individual, the harsh truth is that these supposed “protections” offered at the state level often tilt toward corporate gains. However, one exception among the six states might be Montana. The Big Sky State has at least passed more progressive legislation ensuring that environmental review of Keystone XL is more transparent. Those with hands-on experience with TransCanada negotiations in Montana attribute that to what’s called the “Major Facility Siting Act.” While it might not prevent a taking, it provides more opportunities for landowner and citizen input before condemnation becomes an issue. For instance, the advocacy organization Northern Plains Resource Council has formed a group for about 45 households along the Keystone XL route in western Montana. Rose Moore and other council organizers have compiled a four-page document that lists conditions for pipeline negotiations. They have asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to include these conditions as part of the permitting process. ((01 MAR 2011))
TransCanada —- Why don’t you leave these people alone?
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- March 2, 2011 / 6:29 pm