April 23rd, 2017

Strictly speaking eminent domain involves paying what the buyer (and possibly the courts) consider the fair market value for the land taken, but if you really don’t want this kind of scar bifurcating your farmland, well tough shit.

The oil, or in this case, natural gas, must flow!

Lou Whitmire, reporting in Pipeline altering countryside for the Mansfield News Journal, writes:

Judy Handmaker says she has cried over the Rover natural gas pipeline cutting through her family’s almost 80 acres of farmland on Ohio 545.

Handmaker, 73, of Louisville, Ky., said her ancestors including Samuel Osbun, who served in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, settled in Richland County after the war, having owned farmland stretching from Richland Shale Road to Franklin-Church Road.

“They came to Ohio because the land is good and rich,” she said.

Handmaker said she and her sister, Beth Houston Statzer of Virginia, are very distressed about what has happened to their family farm because of the pipeline.

“We fought it. We hired an attorney to speak for us. I can’t begin to tell you how much our family is linked to the area,” said Handmaker.

Their property is located next to Dayspring, the county home.

“Our farm has been butchered. We are just heartsick. Our mother (Edith Reid Houston) died in November 2015 at the age of 100 and she was heartbroken,” she said. Handmaker grew up here and lived on the farm at Epworth until 1965. “My mother’s parents came to Mansfield during the Depression in 1931 from West Virginia. We won’t give up the farm. It will go to our children,” she said.

Handmaker said she and her sister won’t be able to rent the land to a local farmer this year for crops since the pipeline cut through it. Next year she said the farmer will be able to plant, providing the land is not flooded.

This is Ohio farmland and just this month the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency cited the company building the Rover Pipeline—Energy Transfer Partners (also responsible for the Dakota Access Pipeline)—for spilling millions of gallons of drilling sludge into protected wetlands.

The Rover Pipeline will traverse the congressional district—Ohio’s 16th, represented by Jim Bupkis* Renacci—that I live in. Because the United States has become a net exporter of carbon fuels in recent years, we are putting our farmlands and watersheds, many of which feed into Lake Erie, at risk so that a few billionaires can grow richer literally fueling the economies of China and others buying our exports.

If this is how we make America great again, I have to wonder what the nation was like in this imaginary halcyon era.

*After extensive searches, I have been unable to determine what Renacci’s middle initial stands for. Until I can find a reliable reference to Renacci full name, Bupkis will do.


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