[Ok-sus] Arkansas residents are protesting new pipeline going from Cushing to Memphis

Bob Waldrop bob at bobwaldrop.net
Fri Apr 18 18:16:26 UTC 2014

In stories like this, we see just how shallow the commitment of these 
so-called "conservative" politicians is to "free enterprise" and 
"property rights".  When the economic aristocracy wants something, like 
this pipeline, they get it. If you don't want it on your land, that's 
tough, because they got the guns and they will take it from you via a 
due process of law legalized theft.


Arkansas residents discover they can't stop pipeline from crossing their 
Photographer's project to put 'human face' on impact of planned 
Valero/Plains All American Pipeline project
by Leslie Newell Peacock @eyecandypeacock
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ALISON MILLSAPS - Clara Dotson and Gordon Millsaps on Dotson's land, 
north of Dover.
Clara Dotson and Gordon Millsaps on Dotson's land, north of Dover.
Alison Millsaps, an artist who lives in Dover with her husband, Gordon, 
and their three children, is shooting photographs to "put a human face 
on people who are not on board" with the Diamond Pipeline, a 
Valero/Plains All American Pipeline project planned to bisect Arkansas, 
cutting across their land.

One of those people is her mother-in-law, Clara Dotson, who has owned 80 
acres eight miles north of Dover since the mid-1970s. Dotson, whose 
husband died in 1996, paid off the land by working in a factory. Though 
she lives in town, she has hung on to the land so she can pass it to her 
son and daughter-in-law, who have already picked out a spot where they 
want to build and farm.

The Diamond Pipeline project, which would transport Bakken Shale crude 
from Cushing, Okla., to Memphis, Tenn., where Valero has a refinery, 
came to light when the pipeline company asked the Arkansas Game and Fish 
Commission to survey property northeast of Little Rock that the 
commission manages for wildlife. Diamond Project LLC has not divulged 
the exact route of the pipeline, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
says it is a privileged document and won't release it to the public. 
However, a rough map provided by Game and Fish shows the route bisecting 
the state north of Little Rock, and a brochure says construction is to 
start next year.

When the company contacted Dotson and asked to come on her property, 
which is being used as a cattle ranch, to survey it, "She essentially 
told them no," Alison Millsaps said. "It got kind of ugly. They told her 
either you let us on or we'll get a court order and come on."

On Feb. 20, Diamond Project did get a court order, for a temporary 
condemnation, and were given 90 days to complete surveys and soil tests. 
Pink flags now cross Dotson's land, "smack through the middle of her 
pasture," Alison Millsaps said. There's a pink flag tied to a branch 
over a cattle pond as well. Theoretically, Diamond is to reimburse 
Dotson $300 for any damage incurred in coming on the property, but 
Millsaps said she's not sure how they would get the money, which is 
being held by the court.

Landowners who did not know before are learning that Arkansas law gives 
oil pipelines the right of eminent domain. Diamond Project LLC will have 
to get permits to cross rivers, streams and wet areas from the Corps, 
and must file other requests with the Public Service Commission and the 
Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality relating to river 
crossings, but the state can only regulate construction, not direct the 
route. The pipeline crosses three Corps districts; the Little Rock 
district will take the lead in the permitting process. Game and Fish and 
other interested parties are joining to ask the Corps to require 
individual permits for each waterway rather than a blanket nationwide 
permit. Individual permits would allow the public to comment on the 
impact of the pipeline on wildlife management areas, including the Rex 
Hancock Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area, Steve Wilson Raft Creek 
Bottoms WMA and the Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA. (Because it is a 
federal reserve, the Cache River National Wildlife Area was able to, and 
did, refuse Diamond access to the land.)

Millsaps' picture of her husband and mother-in-law accompany this 
article. She said others who are unhappy about the company's right of 
eminent domain may contact her on her Facebook page, True Price Per Acre.

George Hoelzeman, who does liturgical art and design and lives on 120 
acres in north Conway County, was also sued by Diamond Project after he 
refused to let them survey, since he believed that would give them 
permission to dig. "Worse than that, they sent a survey team two days 
after delivering the lawsuit papers," he said.

Hoelzeman said he was told by surveyors that Diamond was looking at a 
"pretty wide area where they were thinking of running this line. ... I 
found out they weren't surveying a broad swath but a very narrow [route] 
... and I had no choice in the matter. I found out from the [state] Oil 
and Gas Commission that they can do what they damn well please." 
Hoelzeman characterized the attitude by the state commission toward him 
as "belligerent."

"The reality of where I'm at is if I fight 'em, the best thing that's 
going to happen is they move it [the pipeline] to adjacent property, 
which doesn't help anybody. It still ruins our land and I don't get any 
money for it." His land was surveyed in late February. Hoelzeman said 
the surveyor asked him what his objections were to the pipeline. 
Hoelzeman said he could tell him in one word: Mayflower. "He said, 'OK.' "

It was Hoelzeman's second dealing with a gas company. There is fracking 
to the north of his property. He said his dealings with Southwest Energy 
were far more cordial, though surveyors were coy about why they were 
interested in leasing Hoelzeman's mineral rights. He said he got good 
advice from a cousin, who said, "George, you've got to remember, when 
you are dealing with oil and gas companies, they do not have your best 
interests at heart."

Millsaps said she's discovering that people near her have varying 
opinions on the pipeline. One woman said they'd never come through 
because the land is too rocky.

Others are interested in money. One man bought land for his family 
because he's been diagnosed with leukemia and wanted to leave land to 
his family; now it's being surveyed for the pipeline.

Millsaps has asked to meet with her state representative, David 
Branscum, R-Marshall, who serves on the Joint Energy Committee. State 
Sen. Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, told the Times he was studying 
the issue.

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