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The Keystone Pipeline and the Cause for Liberty

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted January 21, 2015

kstoneThe Keystone XL pipeline will free us from the shackles of foreign oil dependence!

Well, at least that’s what supporters of the project will tell you. But they’re wrong.

This idea that the strength of America’s oil industry is somehow dependent upon this pipeline is preposterous.

Don’t get me wrong. When completed, this thing could send about 800,000 barrels down to our refineries every day. That’s not chump change. But it’s also not some great liberator of foreign oil enslavement. Which, by the way, isn’t even a real thing. Less than half of our oil even comes from foreign lands. And most of those imports actually come from Canada: home of Tim Hortons and polite people.

Now being that I live nowhere near the route of this proposed pipeline, I really don’t have a dog in this fight. And while I’m not a fan of facilitating the massive environmental destruction that comes with tar sands production, if the good people of Nebraska are OK with this pipeline going through their beautiful state, that’s their call.

But that, dear reader, is the problem …

Life, Liberty and Property

As reported in the LA Times, TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP), the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, has filed eminent domain proceedings against an estimated 90 Nebraska landowners to secure the right to build the controversial project across their property.

Certainly I can understand TransCanada’s frustration with how long it’s taking to get this project in play, but this is exactly why property rights are so important.

While plenty of TransCanada supporters will argue that this pipeline represents a national security interest, it’s just not. Moreover, eminent domain is theft.

While the fifth amendment guarantees that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation, it is the government that gets to define “just compensation.” And if you and the government have a difference of opinion on “just compensation,” the government can just tell you to go fuck yourself, and then take it from you, anyway.

Now look, I’ll be honest. I’m not losing any sleep over the fact that TransCanada’s plan to move some of the most destructively produced oil on the planet is being held up. And I make no apologies for this. After all, as both an environmentalist and a supporter of liberty, it gives me great pleasure to know that there are still some folks in this country who are willing to fight the good fight to protect property rights and the planet.

Of course, the question is, if the stormtroopers of tyranny do begin to swarm under the shadow of eminent domain, how many so-called lovers of liberty and freedom fighters will make the trek to Nebraska and join these honorable citizens as they protect their property from the clutches of government thugs and foreign corporate bullies?

Will “libertarian-leaning” politicians and pundits side with the right to life, liberty and property? Or will they side with the oil industry?

I suspect it’ll be the latter. Especially because most “libertarian-leaning” politicians and pundits only “lean” libertarian when it suits their own personal needs.

Jeff Siegel Signature

Jeff Siegel
The Libertarian Treehugger