This Won’t Be Popular

But this is critically necessary. The hurricanes of 2005 should remind us of that when gas spikes after the one line between Louisiana and the Georgia area shut down.

Legislation to remove hurdles that make it harder for petroleum pipeline companies to condemn private land near existing lines eventually could affect a large swath of the midstate.

Bibb County is a major nexus for these lines and, though the company pushing for the change says it has no immediate plans to expand in the area, Senate Bill 173 still would change the rules in Middle Georgia and statewide.

3 comments

  1. StevePerkins says:

    It’s always easy to whip up a crisis to justify eminent domain, or tax hikes, or increased government intrusion of some kind. It’s much harder to repeal and rollback such things once the can of worms has been opened. It’s extremely hard to keep government officials from providing favors for the industry businessmen financing them… especially during points in the economic cycle when those industries are flush with cash.

    Your first sentence, Erick, is that this, “is criticaly necessary.” However, if you read the article you link to in its entirety, it says that the actual restriction being repealed is the requirment “forcing companies to prove a pipeline project is needed before it can forcefully take someone’s land to make way for the line.”

    So if eminent domain is in fact so “necessary” in this case, why eliminate the requirement that it be necessary? I know oil is a big buzzword these days, but this seems pretty knee-jerk and poorly thought through.

  2. Cotton Boll says:

    Sen. John Bulloch says the bill is targeting a 47 mile stretch from Alabama to the fuel farm near Lithia Springs along side the existing pipelines and would not include any natural gas lines – only petroleum products like gasoline and diesel. Most hysterical folks on this issue don’t know what the bill actually does. Farmers need access to more fuel and this bill will help.

  3. StevePerkins says:

    The bill is less than a page long. Rather than ask a state senator to dumb it down even further into “cliff’s notes” form, why not just read the thing?

    http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2007_08/versions/sb173_As_passed_Senate_7.htm

    If the motivation for introducing the bill right now happens to be a certain stretch of land, then so be it. However, there’s nothing in the bill establishing such a narrow limit. This bill quite broadly grants eminent domain powers to petroleum companies to (1) “relocate” existing lines anywhere they want on seized land, (2) add new lines on seized land so long as they’re close to exisiting lines, and (3) have free reign to conduct land surveys anywhere in Georgia (looking for the best land to seize) without liability for trespass.

    Erick says Atlanta motorists need more access to fuel. Cotton Boll says south Georgia farmers need more access to fuel. It sounds like with all this necessity, it shouldn’t be hard to work with the existing safeguards and checks on eminent domain. Call me “hysterical”, but if land seizures are in fact so necessary, it just seems odd to repeal the safeguard requiring them to be necessary. I’m not sure how an average citizen could defend that if they’ve actually read the bill and thought it through for a minute.

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