Along with most of the rest of the center-right I've been sympathetic to efforts by the builders of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to win approval from the Obama administration. Somehow I'd missed the fact that there's an eminent domain angle. NPR reports on a Nebraska landowner who says that TransCanada sent his 92-year-old grandmother a letter threatening to use the power of eminent domain to build the pipeline across their property, and KYTX of Longview, Texas, reports on a Texas landowner who is suing to try to stop her land from being taken by eminent domain for the project.
If free market advocates are going to be consistent on this one, they may want to defend Keystone's right to build the pipeline without being stopped by the government, but also the landowners' rights to be paid a market-clearing price for the use of their property without being forced by the government to surrender the land for the benefit of a private company.
Attention Bill McKibben: Getting these facts out there may be the key to killing this pipeline, because it will eviscerate support for the project among the very folks — libertarian types, global warming skeptics, drill baby drill right-wingers — who are among the pipeline's current enthusiastic supporters. These folks all know about eminent domain being used for private projects because of the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court case, and they don't like it one bit.
Anyway, if the cost of building this pipeline is trampling property rights via eminent domain, maybe the best thing is for the Canadians to build the line to a Pacific port and ship the stuff to Communist China, which doesn't have much respect for property rights anyway. It's a global market for oil anyway, so the increased supply should downwardly effect American prices.