Keystone Pipeline Thwarted by Individual Property Rights, For Now

it might be your backyard, but they're our jerbsscreencapLast week, a judge in Nebraska ruled a law that permitted the Keystone XL pipeline to run through the state was invalid. The Public Service Commission, not the governor, should have made the decision to approve the pipeline’s route, which required the use of eminent domain to force some local property owners to hand over their land to the company building the pipeline.

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner points out that eminent domain is not part of the discussion for the left or the right, and that in fact:

To many conservatives, Keystone opposition reeks of unyielding liberal opposition to development, a stance conservatives and libertarians deride as NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard.

But here’s the thing: NIMBYism is problematic from a free-enterprise view only if it’s used metaphorically. If somebody else is trying to build something literally through your back yard, shouldn’t you have the right to say no?

And from north to south, that’s exactly what Keystone XL’s owners are doing: working with state governments to use eminent domain and force reluctant landowners to allow the pipeline through their property.

Read Carney’s entire column here. The apparent indifference of many mainstream liberals and conservatives to the property rights aspect of the Keystone pipeline issue betrays a lack of interest in protecting property rights. Politicians and “activists” with ideas premised on the power of the state to advance their agendas, after all, tend to deploy the language of rights only when the application of those rights fits their specific value system. The unequivocal rights of individuals to own and control their property, and individual rights in general, are not politically expedient ones for coveters of state power.

More Reason on Keystone here and on eminent domain here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, there are two different issues here. People who own property directly affected by this pipeline have every right to object as property owners.

    The political circus is another matter altogether.

  • x4rqcks3f||

    People who own property directly affected by this pipeline have every right to object respond with deadly force as property owners.

    FTFY

  • ||

    Once people realize that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms gives each person the power to secure their own rights to life, liberty, and property, people will realize that government is at best obsolete, and at worst, a crime against Nature.

    God's Will is Free Will.

  • John Thacker||

    The planning and permitting process makes NIMBYism more powerful, and leads to the inevitable eminent domain response (which doesn't make eminent domain right by any means.) It's really not so easy to just buy other land and reroute your plans.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^

    The reason why they can't build it without ED is that thanks to the permitting process they can't buy the easements anonymously anymore. If everyone one knows what you are buying, every jackass can charge the marginal value of the entire project because without their property the project dies (and thanks to permitting rerouting and going around someone who won't sell if very difficult).

    You get around that problem by quietly buying the easements before the landowners realize what is going on and rerouting around those who won't immediately sell. Permitting prevents that and makes the use of ED essential.

    This is a case where frankly Reason shows its ass. They don't understand how this process works and rely on buzz words and blind ideology to take a position.

    If you don't like ED, get rid of the Fed permitting process or radically simplify it. If you don't want to do that, then live with ED. You have to do one or the other.

  • A Certain Violence||

    See: Mulholland, William. Los Angeles Aqueduct. Owens River Valley. California Water Wars.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "This is a case where frankly Reason shows its ass. They don't understand how this process works and rely on buzz words and blind ideology to take a position."

    Yes, crazy Reason takes a principled libertarian stand rather than the GOP talking points John prefers. How crazy is that?

  • PapayaSF||

    I don't think John is repeating "GOP talking points." I am totally opposed to eminent domain abuse (e.g. Kelo, or underpaying for property), but I'm also not a purist libertarian, and so am not willing to toss the entire concept. Sometimes things like roads and pipelines need to be built, and simply cannot be built without eminent domain. I think it may simply be an unpleasant reality that doesn't square with libertarian principles.

  • uhclem||

    Yeah because curves in roads are impossible.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Ever thought of running for town council in New London, CT?

    Look, once you say the principle can be bent for 'this really important practical concern' then the next guy is just going to frame his request to bend it the same way.

  • ||

    " Sometimes things like roads and pipelines need to be built"

    Agreed.

    "and simply cannot be built without eminent domain."

    Disagreed.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Notwithstanding the lack of talking points in play here (the GOP talking points here have to do with development, not the permitting process), it too much to ask that Reason try educating its audience every once in a blue moon rather than reiterate a doctrinaire position out of reflex? If you read John's post, you would realize that his suggestion mitigates the need for ED in building large projects.

    It's really too bad there isn't some way to blame this on the Scary White Male Conservatives, or even (horrors!) paleoconservatives. You're much more fun when you get off on those tangents.

  • ||

    It's really too bad there isn't some way to blame this on the Scary White Male

    Shorter version: "You're only saying this because they're WHITE!" That must be a loud dog whistle, TIM.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Uh, try some reading comp next time. I said 'it's too bad' because Bo clearly has a burr up his ass about John being a conservative, a point he brings up for no particular reason whenever he gets the chance along with a bizarre conspiracy theory about a shadow faction of paleocons infiltrating Hit 'n Run... for some reason.

    Bo isn't saying what he's saying because John is white. He's saying it because he's passed off that no one recognizes his obvious brilliance, and has decided that the reason is because we are 1) cliquish

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    or 2) conservative, whichever his genius lawyer brain decides you are on a given day -- at which point he starts tattling like a little girl that John/Episiarch/Random Poster Who Doesn't See The Brilliance is (OMG!) Not Libertarian/Juvenile.

  • ||

    Buy easements? Why don't they just buy the land?

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Easements are usually cheaper, since they're mostly non-adversarial and allow the current landowner to continue using it for many things, such as growing crops or grazing.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    When the government makes the decision on the route, that makes it harder to react to individual property owners' concerns.

    Fuck it. Let's just keep shipping it by rail.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Or oil zeppelins.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    What is wrong with the existing Keystone pipeline?

    Fuck the Canucks. We don't owe them a direct route to TX/LA.

  • Sevo||

    "We don't owe them a direct route to TX/LA."

    Yeah, we're doing it for the Canadians!
    What an asshole.

  • John Thacker||

    Because it's more environmentally friendly and efficient overall to use a pipeline. Pipeline rail trucks. I don't really think that the lack of a pipeline will prevent the oil from being extracted, it will only make it be transported in a less efficient manner to refineries.

  • SIV||

    required the use of eminent domain to force some local property owners to hand over their land

    "Hand over an easement"

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, an easement for a pipeline over some kinds of property is really a full taking. I might object to that, at least to the point of fighting whatever bullshit payment they wanted to give me as "fair market value."

  • SIV||

    Pipelines avoid taking those "some kinds of property" in almost all circumstances where it can be avoided.

  • ||

    Agree. Market value is subjective. Hence if Trans Canada wants that piece of land, the market value depends on how much TransCanada subjectively values that piece of land at.

    Not on what only the farmer and his neighbors value it at if we pretend TransCanada didn't exist.

  • ||

    Yes, still an infringement on property rights, but that was my first reaction to the article as well.

  • John||

    It can be. But at the same time, if you refuse, none of us can sell our property. What gives you the right to extort an unfair share?

  • ||

    Unfair share? The fuck? I can sell or not sell any part of my property bundle for whatever I feel like. That's not extortion.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yup. If you have 3 farms that need to be bought to put up a shopping mall and the middle farmer don't wanna sell that's his fucking right as a property owner. There are those that think his property should be held at the mercy of his neighbors and those people are called communists.

  • ||

    I can sell or not sell any part of my property bundle for whatever I feel like.

    Err

    You sure about that?

    Pretty sure zoning regulations stop most subdivisions.

    Of course people here (like john) blame the realtors for that or something.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "Pretty sure zoning regulations stop most subdivisions."

    Doesn't mean its right.

  • Sevo||

    "Unfair share? The fuck?"

    Beat me to it. John's blowing it out his ass.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Your property rights must yield to the collective good!

    Keep 'em coming John!

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "What gives you the right to extort an unfair share?"

    The fact that you should not be guaranteed the possibility of economic activity, at the expense of somebody else's.

  • ||

    What exactly is unfair about me asking TransCanada to pay me what it's worth to them?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Awk-ward.

  • John||

    Not when you realize why ED is necessary it is not. ED sucks. But its use is the fault of the environmentalists.

  • prolefeed||

    ED use is the fault of the people who use it to steal from landowners.

    You're starting to sound like the people who blame bank robberies on community conditions instead of actual people holding up actual banks.

  • prolefeed||

    If you want to build something like the Keystone pipeline without ED, you buy options to purchase wide swaths of land, and then route around the holdouts.

    The people who hold the unexercised options get paid to, in effect, undermine anyone trying to hold out for an unreasonable price.

    If that costs too much, then maybe that pipeline cost too much to build relative to other approaches.

  • Calidissident||

    I don't think you understand the meaning of the term "necessary."

    But I agree with you that the enviros are annoying

  • Almanian!||

    I agree.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    which required the use of eminent domain to force some local property owners to hand over their land to the company building the pipeline.

    SRSLY?

  • SIV||

    With eminent domain power line easements they have to throw in some of the air space as well as the land. Not to mention the devastation to the viewshed.

  • Homple||

    My computer runs on whale oil so I don't need any electric transmission lines.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I guess I am unclear on how an international pipeline would not be an appropriate use for eminent domain. It's the kind of thing that has to go "somewhere" and can't be done piecemeal.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Property rights eminent domain.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Property rights (...greater than....) eminent domain.

  • prolefeed||

    There are no appropriate uses for ED, period. It's theft. If you can't get some people to voluntarily agree to part with their property, then you find other people more willing, or truck the oil instead of using a pipeline, or pick a different route for the pipeline.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I'm unclear as to how putting a gun to someone's head and demanding their property isn't outright thievery.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    It sounds like you are confusing "its in the constitution!" with "its right!". The constitution is not perfect. Frankly, we need a new one. After the libertarians take care of everybody else.

  • ||

    How is there not already a state/federally owned road that goes into Canada or at least near enough to it that getting a right away for it would be a trivial thing.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    There are already dozens of pipelines that transport oil from Canada to the USA.

    TransCanada just wants a more direct route to TX/LA.

  • prolefeed||

    If they can get the pipeline without ED, fine. If not, go to plan B for getting the oil to refineries.

  • prolefeed||

    If you dig up existing roads, that's expensive. If you build alongside existing roads, you have to find those along 100% of the pipeline route. 99% doesn't cut it.

  • ||

    I suspect that existing roads might become a problem because existing roads run into large cities, which you want to avoid. It's easier and cheaper to build the pipeline where there aren't a large number of other buildings already.
    And it would be a giant pain in the ass to keep having to route out and around the cities and towns the roads are going through.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    To all of you claiming ED is theft...

    Are you just conceding there can never be new pipelines, powerlines...? If not, what is your alternative?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    On what other occasions can the government take someone's land and give it to a private party Francisco?

  • prolefeed||

    To all of you claiming ED is theft...

    Are you just conceding there can never be new pipelines, powerlines...?

    Nope. Any that get built would likely be more expensive, and some that would otherwise get built might not pan out as a business proposition.

    It's cheaper to build stuff if you can steal some of the components.

    If not, what is your alternative?

    Freedom?

    Are you saying that it is impossible to build big, extremely profitable projects without holding a gun to someone's head?

    The marginally profitable projects might not get built without the added profit from the theft -- are you saying that is a bug rather than a feature?

  • prolefeed||

    If because of ED it is marginally more profitable to move oil via a pipeline instead of via trucks, are you saying that is worth stealing land?

  • SIV||

    Trucks need roads.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Roads already exist. They don't need to be fancy, or anything.

  • Homple||

    And how did these roads acquire right-of-way? Just curious.

  • ||

    Roadz1!1!1!1!

  • uhclem||

    Many (most) roads existed before the private property that surround them.

  • SIV||

    WTF?

  • Homple||

    uhclem I really don't think that can possibly true to any extent anywhere. Have you ever been in a populated part of a developed country? Do you think those thoroughfares were built before land ownership was settled?

  • seguin||

    Um..so these roads...they went...nowhere?

    wat?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    A lot of traditional roads in America were formed by the people who owned property along them. Common law roads.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    First, let me be clear. I agree. It's theft and I don't approve of it. What I'm asking you all, is what is the alternative?

    To answer your question:

    Are you saying that it is impossible to build big, extremely profitable projects without holding a gun to someone's head?

    Yes, that's EXACTLY what I'm saying. Your way, you will NEVER have another pipeline, another utility line or another road...EVAH! All it takes is one property owner to say no. And when you are talking about 2000 miles of line, you are talking hundreds of thousands of property owners. Many will say no just to be a dick. It IS impossible. And wrt roads, if you ever could get a highway built, you would travel twice the distance as NOTHING would ever be a straight line.

    I get, and agree with, the philosophical conundrum, but either you have an alternative OR you will never have another road/utility. What are your alternatives, or point out where my premise is wrong.

  • General Butt Naked||

    We can build something 2000 miles long but it's impossible to deviate a mile or two to the east or west?

    Also, someone's lack of imagination doesn't entitle them to other's property. And yes, life can be harder when there's liberty.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    We can build something 2000 miles long but it's impossible to deviate a mile or two to the east or west?

    For the number of people who are against this pipeline for political/"environmental" reasons (roughly 50% of the population) your pipeline would end up being 20,000 miles long. And god forbid you end up in a liberal neighborhood...

    I've got the philosophical part GBN. But those that hate our philosophy are going to throw this in our face. And if we don't have an alternative, they will claim it's proof that our philosophy is flawed and we want teh chilrenz to be without lektrisity and roadz.

    Typing "being free is hard" on your computer is one thing. It's another thing by candlelight.

    I don't have an answer. I've thought long and hard about this and I come up short.

  • Calidissident||

    Environmentalists have property rights too

  • SIV||

    I don't have an answer. I've thought long and hard about this and I come up short.

    There are centuries of common law behind easements.US law for pipelines goes back to the 1940s.

    There are a lot of more important things to be "pure" about.

  • Calidissident||

    SIV,

    The same could be said about a lot issues that you would react much differently to someone else expressing impurity.

  • SIV||

    "a lot" yet you can't name one.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Common law allowed a lot of things libertarians abhor, that is where public accommodations come from (inns and common carriers could be made to accept all clients).

  • Calidissident||

    Gay marriage, abortion, racial anti-discrimination laws, certain taxes and government spending (obviously not all, or even most), etc.

  • General Butt Naked||

    First of all, I imagine that stated preference would be much different from observed ones once the checks started getting written. By that, I mean that a lot of those against it would change their tune once offered a substantial sum. Not only that, but how many of the people actually involved are against it? Pols that account for the millions of urban blue citizens won't well represent the rural farmers whose land is needed.

    As for the realistic ramifications of an enacted philosophy, there were a lot of people that said our agricultural system would crumble without slave labor and our economy would crash. That's what this talk of "impossible" sounds like to me. If a mugger tells you he'll starve without your wallet, do you believe him? Or do you think he's maybe unwilling to work or think up himself a meal?

    And it's not your job to come up with a solution to these "problems". It's the companies that want to get their product to market job. If oil can't get here from canada without thievery then it's meant to stay there.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Pols that account for the millions of urban blue citizens won't well represent the rural farmers whose land is needed.

    Fair enough.

    I think what DRS says above may have some merit.

    Roads already exist.

    So do easements for existing pipelines/utilities. Could they not use existing easements? At least that way they wouldn't be stealing any more property.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "Could they not use existing easements?"

    Yes. And no. But mostly no.

    Most new installations of utilities are prohibited from using the public right of way, except where they cross. Distribution lines along streets are usually just outside the road right of way (they may encroach slightly but nobody cares).

    Existing utility easements can be used, but the company wishing to install the new utility must either already own it, or must negotiate with both the easement holder and the property owner. There are also physical limitations- trying to squeeze a pipe in to a yay wide easement near an existing pipe brings up soil disturbance problems that can cause a catastrophe.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    A couple of railroads and fiber optic companies got themselves in to civil trouble for putting fiber within easements that only mentioned railroads. Sprint got away with it, because they were started by the railroad as an internal data network that happened to have extra capacity.

  • uhclem||

    Can the pipeline people not RENT the land from landowners? "Yeah, we need to go thru your land (or house) but we'll not only pay to fix your house, we'll pay you a yearly rent for perpetuity."

    I'm thinking landowners would be begging for the pipe to run through their land in that case.

  • General Butt Naked||

    And if we don't have an alternative, they will claim it's proof that our philosophy is flawed and we want teh chilrenz to be without lektrisity and roadz.

    I think if your answer is to steal land for your favored energy source their answer will be to ask why not steal it to put up windmills and solar panels? You can't claim market forces favor your ideas as once the guns come out market ideas have already been abandoned.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "life can be harder when there's liberty."

    Nuh-uhh, Wilford Brimley told me Liberty Makes It Easy!

  • Homple||

    How many deviations to the East or West do you think there would be in 2,000 miles of a pipeline and what would those deviations do to the economic and physical feasibility of the line?

    It's funny when social organization theory bumps into geographical and monetary reality.

  • prolefeed||

    Your premise that nothing will ever get built without ED is like saying that because the government outlaws certain drugs, that no one will supply those drugs because it is harder to do.

    If people want something enough, and are willing to pay a high enough price, it will get done.

    All ED does is artificially lower that price via theft.

    Just one way around the holdout "conundrum" -- offer people along the proposed route options to buy their land if their neighbor holds out, so you only need to have one out of three adjacent properties to say "yes" to getting the pipeline built on that stretch.

    Yeah, it won't be as cheap.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That alleviates "some" of the problems. Suppose you get 1000 properties deep and then get boxed in? Or someone like George Soros offers 1000 times fair market value, just to throw a wrench in the plan? Start over from square one. The logistics of acquiring the land would be staggering.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If George Soros is willing to pay that much for the land, than the 1000x amount IS the fair market value.

    As for the rest:

    Conditional Sale

  • prolefeed||

    The logistics of acquiring the land would be staggering.

    The logistics of building a pipeline once the land is acquired are staggering. Hell, the logistics of digging up the dirt used to extract the metal that is then refined to build the pipes are staggering.

    And yet, shit gets done if the market price is high enough.

    And if the market price isn't high enough, that is a sign that the alternative ways of supplying the demand are the way to go.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Suppose you get 1000 properties deep and then get boxed in?

    Sounds to me like malinvestment. So ED is essentially a bailout.

    The best way to get around the easement issue isn't rent, it's shares in the company. A lot of bridges in the 1800's got built that way, the bridge companies either paid for land outright or in various combinations of easements and corporate shares.

  • Sevo||

    I don't know what the alternative is in each case, but that doesn't change the fact that ED is theft.

  • PapayaSF||

    Well, "theft" seems rather strong, if property owners are paid a fair price for their property. And in ED cases, I'd say a fair price would be some amount (10-20%?) over fair market value.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I'd say at least double. Not that I like it.

  • Sevo||

    "I'd say a fair price would be some amount (10-20%?) over fair market value."

    Uh, are you serious?
    If I own the land, the market price of that land is whatever I accept for the land.
    The term "fair" is irrelevant; that's third party gossip about a transaction.

  • uhclem||

    and if you're not willing to sell at any price, that's also fair.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Well, "theft" seems rather strong, if property owners are paid a fair price for their property.

    But people who hold out for SANCTITY OF PROPPITY RIGHTS are noble.

    Fucking no good dirtbag commies who want to put an end to carbon energy are evil.

  • General Butt Naked||

    You don't seem to know what the word "commie" means.

    Here's a hint: it ain't those that respect private property rights. And putting random words in caps and misspelling others does not constitute and argument.

  • ||

    I was hoping I just needed a sarcastometer recalibration, but based on his other comments below, apparently not.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'd say at least double.

    I would probably hold my nose and accept a policy of "Fair Market Value" (whatever that means) plus annual payments based on dollar value of the oil which passes through the pipeline. If that's prohibitively expensive, tough shit. Mail it.

    I don't know if existing pipeline arrangements include annual lease payments of some sort. I *suspect* they do. A one time payment for the easement is completely unacceptable.

  • General Butt Naked||

    A one time payment for the easement is completely unacceptable.

    What is acceptable or not is determined by the guys with the guns; what you'd hold out for is of no interest to them. You'll take what you're offered or they'll throw you in a rape cage and take it for free.

  • SIV||

    It's a one time payment.

  • Invisible Finger||

    plus annual payments based on dollar value of the oil which passes through the pipeline. If that's prohibitively expensive, tough shit. Mail it.

    Certainly shares of the company are a reasonable, sensible, and traditional approach.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Oh, goody. Maybe we can get 1000 comments about libertarian theological purity.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is a bitch of a purity test.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Yo, fuck eminent domain!

    Convenient forwarding of commodities is not an entitlement.

  • Homple||

    Your lights come on when you flip the switch and there's fuel at the gas station in some measure because of eminent domain. I doubt that you'll light your house with tallow candles or travel only by bicycle in order not to share in the property stolen from others.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    But I would miss none of that shit if it didn't exist.

  • OldMexican||

    If somebody else is trying to build something literally through your backyard, shouldn't you have the right to say no?


    Yes.

    Next question?

    Well, "theft" seems rather strong, if property owners are paid a fair price for their property.


    Ah, how quaint - a question-begging argument!

    What is it about the term "It's Mine!" don't people understand?

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    The Left has never been concerned about property rights, except when they restrict the actions of the state, then they're against them.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Francisco D'Aconia,

    Are you just conceding there can never be new pipelines, powerlines...?


    Roadz!

    If not, what is your alternative?


    There would be no roadz!

    How about, you know, actually buying the fucking land instead of stealing it?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It never ceases to amaze that libertarians -- despite having a philosophy with reasonable answers to some 95% of political and economic problems faced by a given polity -- choose to argue on issues in ways that are self-defeating. ED for instance: instead of trying to find a third way between ED takings and the practical problems of undertaking large infrastructure problems, we get sanctimonious bullshit suggesting that there is no liberty/necessity tradeoff worth making no matter how hypothetical or practical.

    This is, btw, exactly the sort of thing that libertarians smugly note as a problem with Communist cant: a willingness to sacrifice human well-being for ideology, and a refusal to imagine that other concerns even rank as important much less worthwhile to pursue.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Your right.

    When they take away your house to build a multi-cultural community center I'll be the first one with a shovel.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You know that's not what anyone is talking about. More importantly, people amenable to persuasion know that characterization of themselves is crap and will subsequently dismiss the rest of what you have to say.

  • General Butt Naked||

    You know that's not what anyone is talking about.

    You have averred implicitly that property rights are contingent upon public need and that value of said property is at the mercy of a bureaucrat's notion of "fair value". Why is my example any different? If the voting public feels the need for a multi-cultural community center who are you to stop them? Why be rigid and alienate those well-meaning people?

    More importantly, people amenable to persuasion know that characterization of themselves is crap and will subsequently dismiss the rest of what you have to say.

    So the people amenable to libertarian ideas will dismiss any notion of private property rights and free market capitalism? That seems, frankly, fucking stupid.

    No offense, but that argument has been trotted out for every goddamn issue that some "libertarian" wants an exception for. Which is all of them. Yeah, talking about heroin vending machines will scare the straights, but I'm not gonna pretend to believe something different to convert some asshole that's gonna vote for Obama or Romney anyways.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You have averred implicitly that property rights are contingent upon public need

    They are. Easements, reasonable expectation regarding others' use and knowledge of property rights, limitations on how to treat trespassers dependent on situation and any number of other limitations all reflect private property's emergent status as the intersection between an individual's claims and society's. That is the whole point of property rights -- in a state of nature, you have no need for such.

    More to the point, if you don't like ED -- fine, neither do I. Is it more effective to argue against ED by saying 'only slavers care about consequences' to any objections, or saying what could make things work better instead of ED? (John had a good suggestion above.) IMO, the only benefit you get from the former approach is a feeling of moral superiority -- no minds are changed or even engaged, including one's own. Considering how versatile libertarianism is, I see no purpose in presenting such a robust ideology in the most hostile way to those who are curious or sympathetic.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Everyone here arguing against ED on the basis of I'll do whatever I want with muh land, it's muh moral right is making a fundamental error.

    None of you own 'your' land, and no one else does either. You rent it from the government. Stop paying the rent, ie the property taxes and they'll send men with guns to evict you from 'your' land.

    I don't like the situation but that is the reality of real estate ownership in the US.

  • Yegg Central||

    It's amazing to see so many "libertarians" suddenly in favor of eminent domain. I'm sure it's not because they're actually TEAM RED folks who are engaging in mental contortions to avoid being on the same side of an issue as some TEAM BLUE people.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The libertarian purity cult is the reason that the number of self identified libertarians never grows beyond 1% of the population and has little influence on public policy.

  • ||

    Coasian bargaining.

    Why SHOULDN'T the landowner get to demand up to the marginal value of the project? If his land is valuable enough that it's needed to build a pipeline, why shouldn't he get a share of the profits in the pipeline? Why is the "fair market value" of his land only it's use for agriculture, not it's use as a pipeline route.

    If that piece of land is really the only place one can build a pipeline, why is the original landowner not permitted to profit from that fact?

    It seems extremely fair to me that the landowner should be allowed to charge TransCanada whatever he can get for the right to build a pipeline.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Yes. Cell tower and windmill builders often use nonmonetary payments to obtain the use of land- free electricity, free cell phones, or siting the object in a particular area or make other adjustments to accommodate the property owner.

    The pipeline builder can do the same. Maybe they offer free gas through their partner, or bury the pipe deeper so it's not an impact to a farmer's field, or route it near the fence line instead of rammed straight through the owner's house. Someone holding ED doesn't have to do any of that, they can just grab the land.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement