Keystone XL and Eminent Domain

by Tiberius Gracchus on September 10, 2012

Tyranny, by way of the politically appetizing demand for ‘the public good’, has come to South Dakota to bludgeon the sanctity of our property rights. The slogan “for the public good” is often a rally cry for collectivism, which promotes the degradation of our individual rights. Ironically, our political leaders who are supposed to preserve our rights have thrown them away for a Canadian oil pipeline project that will not result in cheaper fuel for South Dakota. This pipeline will take the crude oil to the Gulf coast where it will be refined and the world market will have access to it, not our state. Much of the Republican and Conservative leadership have aligned themselves with TransCanada’s Keystone XL project, and it is a wretched misstep, not only due to the lack of benefit to the state, but also because the Keystone XL project has promoted property rights abuse through eminent domain seizures.

Unfortunately, the seduction of producing results that benefit their agenda tempts our politicians to trample the integrity of our property rights. A tyrant can always ‘justify’ why you no longer have rights to your property. Because our Supreme Court has mishandled our Founders’ intentions and our personal rights so handily, the public’s disregard for private property rights has been emboldened. For instance, the Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London decided to interpret the 5th amendment in a broad sense so as to continue the expansion of abuse. It was successfully argued that if a town could increase tax revenues then they had a legitimate right to condemn private property. In New London, the town had become more important than the people residing there and they condemned property that wasn’t blighted in order to fit a vision to restore the town’s economic progress. Any developer or politician may have the ability to prove that your private property is worth more to the government in some other entities hands, and Kelo v. New London’s result gave them authority to steal. Eminent domain in this tyrannical form is an assault on property rights, and it can arrive at anyone’s doorstep.

The people who are supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline have been manipulated through their desire for oil development. But, sound initiatives towards oil development exist that will not erode the rights of America’s citizens. The bottleneck in oil refining that exists in America is the culprit of high fuel prices. The EPA has, through regulations and red tape, made creating oil refineries in the United States impossible. Building more refineries would lower fuel prices and contribute to our economic progress. Also, continuing to support the drilling of known and existing oil fields, as well as continuing to develop techniques that better extract oil from America’s oil shale, from which would encompass the entire worlds proven oil reserves again, will benefit the United States. Oil fracking and other methods, such as Enhanced Oil Recovery, will further utilize known and proven fields. These methods will help lower fuel prices by increasing supply, while the Keystone XL Pipeline will likely raise fuel prices in South Dakota by lowering the supply of pumped crude oil in the Midwest.

Our political leadership is trampling on our property rights for a pipeline project that will actually raise our fuel prices. But our governments’ main concern should be maintaining the integrity of the rights guaranteed to all Americans in the Constitution. We value the rights of the individual in America above all else. We became a Republic in order to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the masses. A Constitutional amendment may be the only logical route to define, narrow, and ensure that when eminent domain is applied, it is absolutely necessary and in the best interest of our citizens.

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bret clanton November 6, 2013 at 8:23 AM

I am a republican whose private property rights have been impeded on by the proposed KXL pipeline. After reading your blog posts all I can say is wow the main stream South Dakota Republican power structure is going to take exception to you….That is if they survive the EB-5 scandal…


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