TransCanada launched its latest push to seize land from American landowners this summer. Christopher Vondracek reports in today’s Rapid City Journal that the Canadian oil-shipping corporation set legal balls rolling in July to use eminent domain to force South Dakota landowners to surrender to the corporation’s desire to run the Keystone XL pipeline through their land. One South Dakotan facing the loss of his private property rights is Jeffrey Jensen of Harding County:
“They (TransCanada) actually want to give less than they did before on my first easement, and there’s no sunset clause,” said Jensen. “And I guess I don’t agree with a foreign country being able to condemn your land” [Christopher Vondracek, “Keystone XL Moves to Condemn Private Land in Harding County for Pipeline,” Rapid City Journal, 2018.08.19].
Jensen’s legal plight invites obvious political and philosophical questions:
- Does “America First” mean Jensen’s property rights are second to a private, foreign company’s desire to ship Canadian oil to China?
- Why are we more concerned about immigrants crossing our southern border to take jobs that Americans don’t want than about a corporation crossing our northern border to take property rights that Americans do want?
- If there is no longer any economic imperative to conserve oil, then how can there be any need to produce and transport more oil than is sufficiently dire to justify the abrogation of private property rights?
Letting a Canadian country seize American property rights for a project the American economy does not need does not put America First.