Actual Harper quote : "I remain optimistic that the project will eventually go ahead because it makes eminent sense."
I'm surprised that TransCanada's forays into eminent domain - a corporations' state-sanctioned right to expropriate private property for the public good - and you're not fooling us with that jobs, jobs, jobs crap, btw - has not made more of a splash with the property rights crowd up here. It certainly was the key to opposition to the pipeline south of the border.
A Canadian company (sic) has been threatening to confiscate private land from South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico, and is already suing many who have refused to allow the Keystone XL pipeline on their property even though the controversial project has yet to receive federal approval.
While it is impossible to say how many cases are working their way through the legal system, in addition to the 56 Texas and South Dakota cases, TransCanada acknowledges it has sent “Dear Owner” letters to dozens of families in Nebraska.
Here is one such letter, sent back in April to Nebraska landowner Randy Thompson from the TransCanada office in Houston, Texas.
Nebraska : Eminent domain pressure targeted
A Nebraska lawmaker [State Sen. Bill Avery] is proposing criminal penalties for pipeline officials who pressure landowners with eminent domain before a pipeline gets the official green light.
Eminent domain refers to the power of governments to take private property for a public use with appropriate compensation. The power is granted to some private companies, such as utilities and railroads.On Monday, after being hit with a 2 year delay from the US State Dept, TransCanada announced it has reached an agreement with the Nebraska government to change the route of its proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline by 50 km in order to avoid the ecologically sensitive Sandhills region and the most vulnerable part of the Ogallala aquifer, taking one whole day to walk back from its previous claim that any change to the route would be an automatic deal-killer.
Current state law sets no limits on pipeline companies' use of eminent domain, said Norfolk attorney David Domina. That allowed TransCanada to send out two rounds of letters pressuring landowners to sign easements allowing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline across their land.
The letters said that if landowners did not sign within 30 days, the company would use eminent domain to get the right to cross their land.
Presumably the TransCanada Houston office has now recommenced cranking out eminent domain letters.
You don't hear much about the use of Canada's Expropriation Act. Last time I wrote about it was when the government of Saskatchewan expropriated a farmer's land last year for Loblaws.