Members of a group called the “Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition” are at the statehouse today, urging passage of a bill that would make it more difficult for the pipeline developers to seize private property.
The proposed pipeline route would cut diagonally through a 240-acre corn field on Dan Gannon’s “Century Farm” near Mingo.
“We have an issue with a for-profit corporation coming on our land to make a profit,” Gannon says. “…They, on the average, will save $5 a barrel putting it underground versus on the rail and they’re going to run 570,000+ barrels of oil through our land every day — so do the math.”
Kathy Holdefer of Mingo says the pipeline would be “several hundred yards down the hill” from her property.
“We feel that the tide has turned and…nothing like this has ever been proposed before,” Holdefer says. “I know thousands of miles of pipe are already under the soil of the state, but this is way different. This is hazardous material in a gigantic 30-inch pipe and we don’t know how that will affect us.”
Holdefer points to a recent report indicating only 20 percent of oil spills from pipelines are discovered by the pipeline operators, while the rest are discovered after the oil bubbles up to the soil surface or spills into a waterway. The American Petroleum Institute counters that pipeline spills have decreased over the past decade, to about 100 per year.
The pipeline opponents are lobbying for passage of a bill that would require developers to voluntarily acquire 75 percent of the property along the pipeline route before they could use eminent domain authority to seize the rest.