GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. -- A new natural gas pipeline through southwest Grayson County is giving residents headaches. Now they want something done at the state level in order for others to avoid going through what they are experiencing.
Energy Transfer Partners is in the process of building a 36-inch pipeline through southwest Grayson and northern Collin counties. The only problem is the pipeline is cutting through homes and property, and other than future legislation, there is nothing residents can do but watch the bulldozers work.
George Woodroof and his wife Barbara own 475 acres of land just east of Gunter.
"We fought it all the way through and then got to the point when we realized reality was here and it was going to happen." homeowner George Woodroof says.
What used to be rolling hills with large oak trees is now a dirt path, which they say took only one week to make.
"Here we are 290 feet from our bedroom window is a 36-inch high pressure gas line."
The Woodroofs, along with other families in southwest Grayson County, were approached back in October of 2006 about a natural gas line designed to transport gas from the Barnett Shale in West Texas out east, but that’s not what bothers them or county leaders. It’s the ability to place a pipeline anywhere they want through eminent domain, which is the problem.
"They don’t have to notify us when they come into the county. Next thing we know, there are a bunch of stakes out there saying certain pipeline is going in. I don’t think that’s very neighborly and I think that shows a lot of arrogance on the part of the energy companies," Mr. Woodruff says.
Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum and Precinct One Commissioner Johnny Waldrip toured the Woodroof property on Wednesday, which crews have finished leveling in order to cut a trench and insert the pipeline.
Woodroof says it could have been somewhere else, but negotiations with the pipeline fell through, and it’s those talks that, according to Drue Bynum, don’t even happen.
"Being a good neighbor, I would like to see some of these pipeline companies actually sit down with county leaders and sit down to try and figure this out the most expeditious way possible."
Texas Law currently states that energy companies can acquire any land they want, even without the owner’s consent.
That is what Woodroof says has to change.
"To require these guys to do certain things before they objectively say, ‘We'll go from point a to point b and if you're in the middle, then too bad.’"
Woodroof says the company has until June 30th to finish the pipeline on his property. One of the concerns the family has is that a manually operated control switch is just eight miles away.