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Pipeline raises concerns: Potential loss of land vexes homeowners

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Owners of a planned 432-mile natural gas pipeline running from West Texas to the Gulf Coast say their project will generate 18 full-time jobs, 2,500 construction jobs and $42 million of increased annual revenue to state and local taxing bodies.
But those projected figures associated with the approximately $2 billion joint Permian Highway Pipeline venture by Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline and EagleClaw Midstream Ventures offer little solace to Caldwell County homeowners who are concerned about the potential effects a pipeline measuring 42 inches in diameter that is designed to pump 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas could have on their property value and the safety of their community.
The pipeline is expected to run across a 29-mile stretch of Caldwell County, including a portion that will run directly underneath a portion of both SH 130 and SH 142 as well as require crossings beneath Clear Fork and Plum Creek.
Kinder Morgan representatives in September 2018 began reaching out to property owners whose land runs through the projected path of their prospective pipeline to conduct civil and environmental surveys as well as begin negotiations for easements on which to place the pipelines.
One Caldwell County landowner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was dismayed by his options, which basically consist of proceeding with negotiating a price for the affected land or attempting to block it with litigation.
That latter option traditionally comes with costly legal fees and a payment of fair market value for the land, which can be less than the pipeline company was willing to originally pay if it gained control of the easement without resorting to eminent domain.
Eminent domain is the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use with compensation to the property owner.

Read more in this week’s Post-Register.

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