Whitewright landowner concerned about Okla.-Texas pipeline

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

WHITEWRIGHT, TEXAS -- A crude oil pipeline, that would run from Oklahoma to the gulf, would add 3,000 jobs during its construction and is said to enhance our dependence on domestic energy.

But some local landowners, whose properties it would cross, are not convinced, saying the pipeline will depreciate their land and make their Whitewright neighborhood unsafe.

Disabled veteran Jim Hebert lives on this land with his family and horses. He's one of hundreds of land-owners whose properties cross paths with the proposed Seaway Pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Oklahoma to the gulf.

"There is no benefit to having a pipeline on your property: none. It doesn't enhance the value, it decreases the value," Hebert said.

Hebert says Enterprise Products Partners, the company proposing the pipeline, didn't appraise his property accurately and is extorting landowners by offering them less money than their property is worth.

"Like they offered me $40,600, and that's good for a year's salary for some people, but that doesn't equate to the overall damage to the property," Hebert said.

He also wants the company to tell him exactly what's in the crude oil.

"But they refuse to tell you. They say it's a proprietary trademark secret," Hebert said.

Hebert says not only does the pipeline make him concerned for he and his family's safety, but also the safety of anyone living within a mile radius.

"Safety is our top priority in any type of a project like this," Enterprise Products Partners Spokesman Rick Rainey said.

Rainey says company representatives met with Grayson County first responders earlier this month to develop an emergency plan in case the pipeline ever burst.

He also says the company's appraisals are done fairly and that they assume responsibility for damages incurred during pipeline installation.

"Our approach is to make sure that we start off on the right foot and that we treat all of our landowners with dignity," Rainey said.

But Hebert isn't sold on the pipeline, nor its purpose.

"We're going to buy crude from Europe or Middle East at a higher price and keep the gas prices at four to five dollars per gallon. There's no useful public benefit for the pipeline," Hebert said.

Construction on the pipeline is scheduled to begin this summer.


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