Recent political debate has shown two sides regarding the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. GOP vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, voiced his opinion in support of the pipeline and the greater goal of developmental progress. At the same time, we hear President Obama’s outright rejection of the project proposal due to its potential environmental hazards. Though the two sides present valuable insights, both ends of the spectrum forget the greater question: what about the landowners? In this case, the truth lies in the middle. The Keystone XL pipeline should be approved by the Federal Government, but state safeguards should also be put into place to protect more than just the environment. The rights of individual property owners are just as important, if not more pertinent, in light of recent debates and protests. Jane Kleeb, an activist against the Keystone pipeline, argues, “A foreign oil company … gets to seize American land without proving they are a common carrier and without any requirement that Americans get a drop of the oil.” It is people like Kleeb whose property rights are being obstructed. The best way to deal with this issue is to find a middle ground, one that pleases Democrats and Republicans and protects individual property rights.
Click here to read more about the Keystone XL pipeline’s recent acquisition of the right to eminent domain in Texas.