Home / Environmental News / Family’s Livelihood Ruined After Government Stole their Land and Gave it to Big Oil for a Pipeline

Family’s Livelihood Ruined After Government Stole their Land and Gave it to Big Oil for a Pipeline

Susquehanna County, PA (RT) — A family of maple syrup farmers in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania cannot stop their trees being cut down to make way for a new fracking pipeline project owned by billion dollar oil companies, a federal judge ruled Friday.

The Holleran family opposes the seizure of their maple grove to make way for the new 124-mile-long Constitution Pipeline.

The group faced contempt of court charges for obstructing tree cutting on their property.

The land is being taken by eminent domain to be turned into a 120ft wide passageway for the pipeline. The $875 million proposed project would carry gas from fracking sites in the northeastern Pennsylvania borough of Montrose into the capital of New York state, Albany.

On January 29, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave a partial notice to proceed with tree cutting on the 25 mile Pennsylvania side of the pipeline.

Companies backing the pipeline sought permission to cut trees along the New York side, but were blocked by environmental groups and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Those who oppose the pipeline argue Constitution is getting a jump on the project despite not having permits in New York and are calling for a stop to the tree cutting in Pennsylvania.

Lawyer Mike Ewall of Energy Justice Network said, “Constitution Pipeline Company is threatening this family’s livelihood for a pipeline that may never be built. They still don’t have FERC’s permission to construct, yet they bully and intimidate landowners while offering paltry compensation for taking their land.”

The defendants confronted tree cutters on their property on February 10.

The contempt of court charges were dismissed when state trooper Monty Morgan was unable to identify the defendants.

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The judge stood by his earlier decision to grant eminent domain to the pipeline company and said US marshals would be directed to arrest people interfering with the tree cutting.

This means the family has no right move the tree cutters off their land, despite their lack of consent and loss of livelihood.

Some 200 maple trees are to be cut, about 80 percent of the maple trees on the property. The family want to be fairly compensated for the loss of land, rather than stop the pipeline.

Family spokeswoman Megan Holleran said, “We know they’re allowed to cut down the trees, but we’re still hoping they may not. My family’s not going to do anything to violate the court order.”

Federal wildlife rules dictate that the company may only cut trees between November 1 and March 31 in order to protect migratory birds and the endangered long eared bat. If the deadline passes before the trees are cut, the company will be forced to wait until fall.

The pipeline is a partnership of $1 billion Texas company Cabot Oil; $12 billion Oklahoma company Williams; Piedmont Natural Gas, also from Texas; and the public utility holding company WGL serving the Washington DC area.

Cabot has a long history of spills and contaminated drinking water and killed fish with high levels of methane in the Dimock, Pennsylvania area in 2009, after up to 8,000 gallons of potentially-carcinogenic drilling fluids spilled from a well site.

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In 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection fined Cabot $120,000 for a storage tank explosion and spill in Susquehanna County.

A Williams gas pipeline ruptured in Pennsylvania in January, forcing residents to evacuate.

The company had a major leak at a gas plant in Colorado in 2012. The leak was not revealed until 2013, when lethal levels of benzene levels were recorded, which had polluted the groundwater and soil.

The Transpacific Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement could allow “private companies to sue governments for loss of profits connected to regulation” through “investor state dispute settlement”, according to the Guardian.

If it passes, families like the Hollerans will have even less power to resist the detrimental effects of oil and gas companies.

  • Miller

    The family should incorporate and counter sue under existing trade regulation for every last drop of maple syrup those trees might have produced over their entire lifetime.

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    • Facebook’s promotion scam is a joke. If you try it and they don’t like the political content on your page they will lock your page down and you’ll never get it back.

    • shut me down for a day over my political postings- said i was going “too fast”!!! ~

    • If you think Mark Zuckerberg is on your side your mad. He’s only in it for himself. Face Book needs replaced

  • corporations would do it themselves….

  • Back in the day prior to the government mediating these situations, the corporation would have sent their private muscle in to remove you. You would have fought back, been overwhelmed eventually, then either killed or run off. Without being paid for your land. So yeah it isn’t right but it’s better than it was 150 years ago.

    • The ‘muscle’ you are referring to was in fact the national guard (government entity). For More info Google, The Ludlow Incident, WV Coal Miners Strike, or any of the numerous strike busting efforts that occurred, You will find that gov’t nearly always played a role.

    • The Free Thought Project.com Sometimes it was the guard, sometimes it was “especially in the mines” hired scabs. In your range wars you had hired private guns or the United States army. Your incidents you are listing are the publicized incidents. There are a lot more that google doesn’t have and you would have to go to a library and microfilm of 100+ year old newspaper articles.

    • But with social media now, fighting back would potentially enable private citizens to be able to successfully defend their property. People came to the defense of the hammonds against the BLM, that’s a similar situation. I just don’t see the interference of the courts benefitting the citizens in these cases

    • Yeah Ryan Zielinski and look how that turned out. Other citizens called them terrorists.

    • good point

  • Welcome to the land of the free ooops land of the fees more like it .

  • This is cool they have or had land… What about those who want to buy a land but need to work at the pipe line construction to earn money, like me? I somehow don’t feel sorry for those of the previous owners of the land who got it accidentally when it was cheap or free and who did not feel sorry for me not possessing that land…

    • Wait and work hard to buy it only to have it taken from you….. Maybe you would feel sorry then?

    • Heather Clark In my case, after working hard and getting (which is impossible) land: Yes. In their case, when their parents’ only input was to be accidentally there when that land was taken over from Indians – no. Most land belongs to invaders or their heirs worldwide, only small pieces of land are still available for obtaining honestl… not really honestly, but in accordance to the rules set up by invaders/current landowners/big guys…

    • You can still buy land in many areas. I like in the Poconos & yes you can still buy land here. Its not even that much to just buy land.It costs money to develop it & why would you cut yourself short.Why cant you ever buy land? You can do anything you set your mind too.I have seen people come up from nothing.

    • Heather Clark There is a saying: I can buy a goat, but I don’t want. I want to buy a Mercedes, but I cannot…

    • You should come to bama then brofessor. We have land for days. I constantly see affordable land for sale here. Come down south. Also we have a ton of Hyundai factories that hire welders on the reg. Check it out

    • Cory Cummings thank you Sir, and I would love to move to the warmer climate… the problem is that we (Canadians) need a work permit to work in the USA. Without it I would have as much rights to work in the USA as a random Indian or Philippino foreign worker. We are waiting and hoping for the start of our piping line construction here, Trans-Canada. Right now I would consider working for Hyundai, even that my job title sounds us cool us: ‘pipe welder’, journeyman.

  • I say no to the pipeline as well.

  • The Land was Stolen from The Natives and Given to Europeans,What hypocrisy is this?

  • look a little closer at the bundy hammond case….collectivism

  • wait till trump gets in an his intement domain agenda then they will take anything they want an there won’t be a dm thing you can do bout it

    • Yeah right! Educate yourself a lot more.That can not happen.

    • bullshit you just wait till they take your shit an you’ll find out the hard way that is the firist thing trump wants how do you think he got lot of the land for development just like that he stole for poor folks your the one that needs to be educate yourself don’t be blind to the facts

    • They dont take it they buy it…look it up.

    • yea for nothing for what ever they think market value is they’ll screw you out of family home or farm for 20 or 30 thousand then it cost you 150 thousnd to replce it not to dam smart you better be looking in to some they have taken an talk to some of the people an you’ll find out what i’m talking about don’t be so stupid

  • Take my land and that part of the pipeline will forever have holes in it.

  • It’s crazy how much propaganda has been pushed to make the pipeline a positive thing. It’s a terrible thing from start to finish. Tar sands are an environmental catastrophe, the pipeline runs over the biggest underground water supply and what the hell do we need more oil for? Oh yea it’s for plastic that our “food” comes in.. look at all the packaging in the grocery stores. Nobody should have their land taken but it’s been happening throughout our history. From the natives to homesteaders to civil forfeiture to eminent domain.

  • Trumps eminent- domain.

  • Corporate Fascism is the American way

  • This sounds like Republican lies. Government stole their land. I read the story. The land was taken under eminent domain. Property taken under eminent domain must be for a governmental public purpose. The owners of the land must be paid the fair market value for their property. They can appeal if the sum is not the fair market value. To say their property was stolen is a lie. They were paid for the property. The reason the oil companies are in the role of the government is because of Republicans, oil companies, politicians, Democrats and the rich pass legislation allowing them to do so. All under the guise done for a public purpose.

    • I just posted something like this. We have a pipeline through our land & its been no trouble.

    • Heather you might consider it to be “trouble” had you lost your land in order for it to be built…

    • Ealy I think they’re calling it theft because of the lack of choice in the transaction. They were forced to comply. Without consent from both parties it’s not voluntary trade…

    • Ealy , thank you! Someone with an IQ higher than their age.

    • Just simply look at the bundy ranch to see what happens when you don’t comply. It was stolen bc they didn’t have a choice. Ryan Zielinski took the words right from me

  • Your article leaves out a lot of information and details. Very sensational, but obviously not accurate.

  • They do pay them for the land…they fail to mention that. Not that it makes it that much better, but MOST ppl just take the money, as its usually more then its worth.But they pay for for the use of the land & you get to keep it. They would pay them to put the pipeline in & then plant new maple trees on the land. I’m sure that’s what they offered to do.

    • The pipeline on your property is for public use. They pay you and you keep that property and the government has an easement to the property. That is ingress and egress. You are right Heather.

    • For their use not public use…the Pipeline & the workers.They rarely ever need to come through it after its installed.

    • The pipeline itself for public use. The easement not for public use because the government paid your for only their right to the easement.

  • but the people in the oregon reserve where religious rightwing nutbags right ? …

  • liberals love the Kelo decision .. because it raised more tax dollar … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London

  • Business owners, crazy mobs wanting to do literally anything the list would literally go on into the infinite.

  • Corporations, see pre Teddy Roosevelt.

  • Nothing wrong with it , sound good

  • You have no rights against a corporation. Period.

  • They have to buy it, and it has to be Imminent Domain. They will probably buy it with the money the corporation gives them. “new rule”..corporations must return profits over ten percent to taxpayers.

  • This is a little taste of what the first nations have experienced all through history.

  • We are the Government and they work for us. If the laws are not good for the people, they are not laws https://www.reverbnation.com/blackeyebutterfly/song/25291347-heaving-it-behind-me

  • Vote Republican and watch this practice increase exponentially

  • Corey Mondello

    Welcome to imment domain. Always supported by conservatives until it effects themselves

  • not right

  • Cam Alft

    my friends got their horse ranch taken away from them for a interstate!when they sued the town and county for the land,miracuosly,they arrested my friend on trumped up bullshit charges,and it is all gone now,too late!but when he gets out,he can’t go home to his wife untill he confesses to the bogus charges they threw at him??!?he never confessed because he never did it,and he never signed papers and he never said he did and he never pleaded that way,because he didn’t do it!so now they made up some crap and a phoney law saying he has to confess,after he gets out!??!WTF?yep,dirty pool,the system will twist and accuse people of shit,steal from them and ruin their lives for their own profit!the gov’t wants it all,and they want you to pay for it,and they get the money when it gets sold!

    • Fernesque Golan

      Right you are. So the question is, why would anyone in their right mind defend our system or government or send their sons and daughters off to fight a war for corporate profits? Americans suffer from serious thinking disorders caused by an overload of mendacious propaganda.

      • Cam Alft

        a lifetime of indoctrination….i have been pushing the’starve the machine’ talk for over a decade,and yet kids still sign up for the military because of family members who have served,i had told my two oldest,like an idiot,to join,they did,they are marines,but then reality sunk in and the rest of my boys and my daughter have no want nor need for it..but sadly too many families all do the same thing when it comes to serving!our gov’t is changing along with how the views of the families change,of course the gov’t steps up the brainwashing and propaganda to fill that void created by common sense and thinking!the gov’t hates people who think differently than they do!the system has been corrupted and must be fixed….,.

  • Yeah let’s peacefully protest these guys off their land…. Cause that’s how we got this country from the British right? Oh wait, no I believe we beat the shit out of them killed every one of them we could until they got it through their heads, we ain’t gonna put up with this shit anymore. The same shit being done to us today by the people in power by our so called government. So in reality we’re peacefully protesting our selves into a jack booted communist society, and it’s sad and it sucks that these people are now suffering from it to like so many before them.

  • Who got paid off there!!!

  • Greedy, filthy, bastards..

  • Kelo vs.new london was the presidece for this another failure of the liberals on the supreme court! im pretty liberal but this is sooo unconstitutional it revolting!

  • The corps would just do it themselves.

  • Eminent domain following the disastrous Supreme Court ruling Kelo v City of New London. How this passes Constitutional muster I don’t know. The Supreme Court has become another arm of corporations and the wealthy against the citizens. They are appointed by the corporate owned Presidents and confirmed by the corporate owned Congress. It’s a wonder that any decisions are in favor of the rights of citizens. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2004/04-108

  • Simply means the TPP has been signed and ratified without your knowledge and corporations now own you and the land you thought you owned. Now some who thought they were rich will know poverty

  • I bet you they are also local terrorists I been sarcastic.

  • Whenever you try to reason with the gov.

  • I’m pretty sure eminent domain laws are for government to seize land for public use. Not for private companies. They should have to pay them for the land, and if they don’t want to sell, reroute the pipeline.

  • I bet the same fuckers who think this is wrong are the ones who think the bundys are terrorist… People are stupid

  • Frakk off !!

  • Well as a Native American. All I can say is ,,,,,welcome to the club ,,, it’s not nice huh ???

  • ropes

  • Following. Stupid facebook rules.