4/02/2006

Gas Pipelines Don't Make Good Neighbors: Residents Against Rockies Express Pipeline

By Ron and Wendi Cambron

The city of Agency MO. is suddenly facing an uncertain future due to the The Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) project.

This proposed 1,323 mile natural gas pipeline system will run from Colorado to Ohio. The westernmost portion of the system will traverse 710 miles from Weld County, Colorado, to Audrain County, Missouri. This 42" diameter pipeline will carry between 1.5 billion and 2.0 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Directly in the path of this monster gas transmission line sits a quiet little community. There are fewer than 600 people that have the privilege of calling this place home. No, there isn't a Walmart, there isn't a bank, and there aren't any fast-food joints, just plenty of natural beauty. That beauty however has already been marred by newly planted stakes dotting the landscape that wave red and blue ribbons.

As this new tenant settles in, it will not only consume yards and trees, but it will displace at least one family from their residence of 41 years. There are two other families that will likely see the same fate, as the blue ribbons wave less than 50 ft from their homes. Concerned residents have written letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)in hopes of modifing the proposed path to include nearby agricultural land and avoid the city. By utilizing the land to the south the number of affected property owners would be reduced by 80% and the number of people living within 100 ft of the pipeline would be reduced by more than 95%.

We understand the importance of having natural gas available to the Eastern United States; however we do not feel that our community should have to suffer in the process. Our mission is simply to get the Rockies Express Pipeline Company to utilize an alternate route. One that would not displace homeowners and devaluate an entire neighborhood due to a possible catastrophe and, of course, easement issues.

Eminent domain is the right of a government to take private land for public use. The Rockies Express Pipeline Company must, by law, make a resonable attempt to negotiate a settlement with affected property owners. (What is a resonable amount to offer for something that is not for sale?) If an agreement cannot be reached, however, REX may invoke eminent domain. A court would then determine the landowner's compensation, based on state and federal laws. When determining fair market value does the court consider that they are not compensating for a house but, rather a home? A home where people have chosen to live, chosen to raise their children, chosen to be a part of that particular community. Does the court also consider that they not only chose this piece of America , they also paid for it! (The American flag stands tall proudly proclaiming "Liberty and Justice for All" in front of one newly endangered home. Isn't it a shame that in America there's even a need for the sign.)


Residents Against Rockies Express Pipeline: www.freewebs.com/residentsagainstrex