Showing posts with label eminent domain abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eminent domain abuse. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Build Border Wall Only On Federal and State Land

Source: CATO Institute, USA Today, Geography of Border Wall, Reuters, Business Insider, Texas Tribune, ProPublica

However much Trump and his supporters might want the border wall to be a continuous physical barrier their fantasy will inevitably run into logistical and constitutional problems that will make it a piece meal wall at best. A continuous border wall would be feasible if the entire stretch of the southern border was nothing but flat desert land but it's not. The southern border includes mountain ranges like the Jacumba Mountains, bluffs and canyons like the Rio Grande Canyons, lakes like Lake Amistad, and Peninsular U.S. cities like Los Ebanos, which is enveloped on three sides by the Rio Grande river, that would be cut off from the rest of the country by a continuous border wall and did I mention a certain river that would erode any border wall every time it floods its banks. Of course, geography isn't the only problem for a continuous border wall. Two-thirds of the land along the southern border, mostly in Texas,is owned by private landowners, Indian tribes, and state governments. If we assume the Army Core can easily obtain permission from states, especially Texas, that still leaves unwilling private landowners and tribal governments who are almost unanimous in their unwillingness to allow a border wall.

Since the government shutdown, Trump has contemplated declaring a national emergency so he could mobilize U.S. troops and use the DOD budget to build the border wall. He has even floated the insane idea of using executive power to take private land, which is on par with something a third world dictator would do, like Trump's friend Mohammed Bone Saw. In all seriousness, what Trump may be referring to is a declaration of taking, a legal tool established during the great depression to expedite public works projects. This allows the Army Corps or any other federal agency to take possession of private land on the same day that it files a declaration of taking without having to worry about negotiating a price with the private landowner.

During construction of border fencing authorized by the 2006 Secure Fence Act, about 360 private landowners refused to voluntarily sell their land to the federal government, resulting in hundreds of condemnation suits some of which took several years to settle. Many landowners were ripped off in the process receiving either no compensation or compensation that was less than the actual land value that was taken from them.

An investigation by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune shows that Homeland Security cut unfair real estate deals, secretly waived legal safeguards for property owners, and ultimately abused the government’s extraordinary power to take land from private citizens.

The major findings:
  • Homeland Security circumvented laws designed to help landowners receive fair compensation. The agency did not conduct formal appraisals of targeted parcels. Instead, it issued low-ball offers based on substandard estimates of property values.
  • Larger, wealthier property owners who could afford lawyers negotiated deals that, on average, tripled the opening bids from Homeland Security. Smaller and poorer landholders took whatever the government offered — or wrung out small increases in settlements.
  • The government conceded publicly that landowners without lawyers might wind up shortchanged, but did little to protect their interests.
  • The Justice Department bungled hundreds of condemnation cases. The agency took property without knowing the identity of the actual owners. It condemned land without researching facts as basic as property lines. Landholders spent tens of thousands of dollars to defend themselves from the government’s mistakes.
  • The government had to redo settlements with landowners after it realized it had failed to account for the valuable water rights associated with the properties, an oversight that added months to the compensation process.
  • On occasion, Homeland Security paid people for property they did not actually own. The agency did not attempt to recover the misdirected taxpayer funds, instead paying for land a second time once it determined the correct owners.
  • Nearly a decade later, scores of landowners remain tangled in lawsuits. The government has already taken their land and built the border fence. But it has not resolved claims for its value.

In theory the 5th amendment guarantees just compensation; in practice, just compensation is a function of how much money you have. As usual, landowners who could afford an attorney to litigate for years were able to get much higher offers for their land that reflected the actual selling price, while those who couldn't were ripped off and forced to settle for the first offer.

Retired teacher Juan Cavazos was offered $21,500 for a two-acre slice of his land. He settled for that, figuring he couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer.Rollins M. Koppel, a local attorney and banker, did not make the same mistake. A high-priced Texas law firm negotiated his offer from $233,000 to almost $5 million (21x the original offer) — the highest settlement in the Rio Grande Valley.

Of course, there are also landowners who have yet to be paid for their land, having to spend tens of thousands of dollars and several years in court to get a correct appraisal. This was the case for the Los Santos family, who almost had their land stolen outright when DHS paid their ranch hand instead of them.

The Loop family spent more than $100,000 to defend their farmland from repeated government mistakes about the size, shape and value of their property. The government built a fence across Robert De Los Santos’ family land but almost a decade later has yet to reach a settlement for it. Ranch hand Roberto Pedraza was accidentally paid $20,500 for land he did not even own.

It is also exceedingly difficult to a appraise land values when the government is the only possible buyer and there are very few sales to go by. DHS found a way to circumvent this problem by adding an exception to the Uniform Act, which was supposed to protect landowners from low ball offers, that allowed them to avoid conducting formal appraisals and price negotiations for land worthless than $50,000 before suing the owner.This allowed them to take 90% of the tracts they needed to build the Rio Grande Valley fence without formal appraisals. In place of formal appraisals, the Army Corps used, in some cases, non-certified appraisers, who were not required to abide by federal standards for pricing land, or find a legal description of the property, or determine the property lines or even find the legitimate owner, which in many cases resulted in payments to people who didn't own land. To make matters worse, the Army Core left gaps in the fencing, that are still there today, where they were supposed to install gates for farmers and ranchers to access the rest of their land, making the fence practically useless expect as a water barrier.

Unlike private citizens, tribal members are protected from these same thuggish tactics by their sovereign dependent status. For starters, Indian trust land cannot be taken through eminent domain. Trump would need a bill from congress with super majority approval in the Senate and the House, which given the Democratic majority in one and the slim Republican majority in the other, would take an act of God. Many tribes that live along the border such as the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and the Tohono O’odham, whose ancestral lands occupy 62 miles of the southern border and extend into Mexico, have been vocal in their opposition to the border wall for the potential environmental and cultural damage it could cause. The Tohono O’odham tribe have the most to lose. A border wall would split their homeland in two and separate them from fellow tribal members in Mexico. They currently have low lying vehicle barriers with a gate in a middle that allows them access to their land on the other side of the border. The tribe also maintains watchtowers and helps CBP apprehend human smugglers and drug traffickers that attempt to cross their land. Given their isolation from any urban centers, a 30' wall would be completely pointless because its physically impossible for migrants to get their on foot; most would end up dying of dehydration or exposure in the desert.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Indiana City Plans to Bulldoze Homes of Elderly Residents

Sources: petition, Downtown Redevelopment Plan

Four residents of Yorktown, Indiana are under attack for getting in the way of redevelopment plans. The city wants to demolish their homes and use the land to build a pedestrian bridge across Buck creek and build a court yard and games behind the bridge. The city has already started condemnation proceedings against Janice Ross, an elderly widow and one of the four residents in this case. In fact, all of the residents threatened with eminent domain are elderly and include a couple and two widows, one of whom is a 91 year old blind woman. Ruby Martin, the 91 year old blind woman, would probably not survive the stress of forced removal and relocation and the health of the other three residents would also be put in peril, but this is not the full extent of the injustice being committed. The city already owns an adjacent lot that could be used as the redevelopment site, which would save them the expense of litigation, but perhaps they targeted these residents knowing they are too frail and poor to fight back. It is not hard to see that preserving the homes of long time residents should be given higher priority than a pedestrian bridge and courtyard, but to the psychopaths in city hall any extra revenue is worth the lives of their own residents.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Farmers Along Proposed Pipeline Route Fight Eminent Domain

Source: NJTV News

Another day another story illustrating that property rights don’t really exist in our supposedly freedom loving ultra capitalist country. Apparently freedom means some businesses are free to steal property from other businesses at gunpoint as long as it generates more revenue for the state.

The PennEast Pipeline Co. has filed 92 eminent domain lawsuits against landowners in New Jersey in conjunction with the construction of a 120 mile natural gas pipeline that runs from the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania to Mercer County, New Jersey. The inevitable victims of the proposed robbery include Jacqueline Evans, who co-owns Haut Farm in Stockton, NJ, and her neighbors T.C. and Joe Buchanan, who own an adjacent orchard.

Jacqueline Evans has been running her farm for over five years, but she says she’s at risk of losing everything. “We love our home, we don’t want to leave, and this is wrong. It’s for an unneeded pipeline,” she said.

All of those trespassing surveyors that have been on our property, Michigan, New York, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Florida, their license plates were from all over the place. Nobody was from New Jersey,” said T.C. Buchanan. “The unions are saying, we're going to get jobs. If there are any jobs, it’s going to be temporary. They said it’s seven weeks to seven months maximum for workers, and in the meantime, they put all the farms out of business.

Did I mention this will be an armed robbery? The pipeline company received approval from the FERC in January, but have yet to obtain the requisite rubber stamps from the Delaware River Basin Commission and New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection. Despite lacking the necessary permits, PennEast Pipeline Co. has already requested the assistance of U.S. Marshals to maul any landowners who might resist the proposed robbery.

“They’re also filing on the ability to use U.S. Marshals and force against us if we resist,” said Evans. “I don’t understand why they need to have U.S. Marshals with guns. I have little kids, they’ve been traumatized by this enough, so that took my breath away that they would do that, but it falls in line with how they’ve treated us all along.”

With Trump in the oval office this will undoubtedly go through and be hailed as progress by his braindead supporters. Apparently, progress is setting precedents that weaken property rights and concede more power to the state and favored corporations.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Libertarian Approach To Protecting The Environment

Most of my posts address the topic of property rights, which at a cursory glance doesn’t seem to be related to the environment. Over time, though, I’ve started to notice a commonality between the two subjects. For instance, property rights tend to be a major obstacle for pipeline companies and the fossil fuel industry in general, which is often solved through eminent domain. Examples are furnished by the 2016 debacle over the Dakota Access Pipeline, in which at least one landowner was arrested for protesting construction on her own land, as well as the current holdouts against the Mariner East 2 pipeline. This not only happens in the U.S., but also in other regions of the world where property/land rights are more ill defined. For instance, in the Amazon rainforest drilling is often conducted on Indian land without the informed consent of the communities which reside there. Such was the case in the legal battle between the Achuar and the Canadian company Talismen Energy. Protecting land rights would also be a bulwark against other extractive industries both legal and illegal. For instance, respecting the land rights of the Baka would go a long way to curbing deforestation in the Congo. A series ofstudies conducted by the World Bank provides ample evidence to corroborate this conclusion.

A six-nation study for the World Bank’s Program on Forests found deforestation rates are significantly lower where communities have legal rights to the forests and government support for management and enforcement, compared with areas elsewhere.

Elsewhere being places where governments have forced communities out of their ancestral lands and handed stewardship over to corrupt eco-guards, something that happens often throughout Africa.

Research from Indonesia showed conflict over land was minimized and investment was encouraged when local communities were involved in designing transportation corridors around proposed mining projects. Another study from Indonesia showed granting long-term rights over mangrove swamps to indigenous people has better protected the critical coastal ecosystems than in areas where the endangered buffers between land and sea are not locally managed.

I am not suggesting that governments shouldn’t have any role in addressing environmental problems. What I am suggesting is that they would be more effective to this end if they did what they are suppose to do in theory, which is to protect property rights, regardless of whether it’s the property rights of farmers and ranchers in the midwest or the indigenous peoples of tropical rainforests. Nothing further should be done until they get this right.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Washington School District Steals Couple's Home

Source: K5 News

Everett Public School District intends to forcibly take Bruce Gutschmidt and Christine Messer’s home, through eminent domain, in order to build a second school building. Bruce Gutschmidt and Christine Messer have lived on the 1.8 acre property for the past 14 years, and the property has been in Gutschmidt’s family since 1967. It’s fair to say that the property has both a real and sentimental value to Bruce which the school district has failed to take into account. To rub salt in the wound, they have refused to compensate him for its full appraised value or help him with relocation expenses. Unless the couple has relatives and friends in the area, they could very well end up homeless as a result of the school district’s belligerence. The couple has until March 30th to pack up their belongings and move out.

While this eminent domain seizure is for a public use, it violates the just compensation part of the 5th amendment takings clause. Not only are they offering him less than half of his property’s appraised value, they’re also refusing to compensate him for relocation costs. Regardless of how noble their ends are, forcing someone out of their own home, and especially without fair compensation, is always wrong, but that has become the norm in the USSA, where no one has property rights apart from government agencies. The actions of this school district are really no different than the eviction of pygmy clans from the forests of the Congo. Sure, Bruce Gutschmidt and his girlfriend aren’t repressed minorities in a third world country, but the actions are morally equivalent. In both instances, the government claims to use violence for some noble and lofty goals. In the Congo it’s to create national parks to preserve wildlife or the ‘world’s heritage’ as Europeans like to call it. Similarly here, it’s to educate children. In both instances, the government uses these lofty goals to justify violence, but politicians always have ulterior motives, which are impossible to have any certainty of unless you can read minds. That is why actions should be judged by their means, not their ends. The means doesn’t justify the end.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

City Appeals Injunction Ending Their Illegal Property Confiscation Scheme

Source: Institute for Justice

I haven’t been keeping up with IJ as of late, so I was surprised to see that an Indiana judge had granted a temporary injunction against the City of Charlestown’s use of eminent domain on behalf of private developer John Neace. I have made previous posts about this story which you can read here: Indiana Mayor Steals Property From Homeowners To Give To A Private Developer and hereBombshell Documents Reveal Collusion Between Charlestown Indiana and A Private Developer

The original story about the Indiana judge granting a preliminary injunction against Charlestown was posted by the courier journal on December 4th.

An Indiana judge granted a temporary injunction that forces Charlestown officials to treat the residents of Pleasant Ridge the same as they do a developer seeking to redevelop the low-income neighborhood. In his Monday ruling, Scott County Judge Jason Mount wrote that if the city waives fines for properties owned by Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment LLC, "then it must waive fines imposed on other property owners" in the neighborhood, according to court records.

As part of the Monday ruling, Mount stated that the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association would likely win its claim that Charlestown officials violated their Federal Equal Protection. He said the city has treated the developer different from those who do not want to demolish their properties, which violates Indiana law.

Of course equal protection of the law or equality before the law usually only exists in theory. In practice, the U.S. government selectively enforces its laws, and that’s one of the reasons the U.S. is not a true republic, and this whole ordeal might have been avoided if our criminal government had abided by the constitution and respect people’s property rights.

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Orleans Crooks Destory Couple's House After They Purchased It From The City

Source: Pacific Legal Foundation

In 2015, David and Lourdes Garrett purchased a neglected house from the city of New Orleans with plans to renovate it and turn it into a rental property, but their plans never came to fruition. Four months after the purchase, the city demolished the house without even notifying the Garretts. When the Garretts raised their objection to this absurd violation of their property rights the city responded by sending them an $11,000 bill for the demolition. Perhaps the city reached out to the previous owner, who vacated the property in the 1990s, by mistake. Nonetheless, whether the city destroyed the Garrett's property out of belligerence or incompotence, they violated their 5th amendment rights to a notification, a court hearing, and just compensation for the loss of their house.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

The destruction of their property constitutes depriving them of their property without due process of law. At the very least, the city should have notified them about the impending demolition and allowed them a hearing to contest the decision. By not paying the Garrets back what they paid for the house, and in fact charging them for the destruction of their property, the city took private property without just compensation. The city essentially robbed them.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Bombshell Documents Reveal Collusion Between Charlestown, Indiana and a Private Developer

Source: Institute for Justice

The following story is a follow up report about the use of emeinent domain to take houses from low income residents in Charlestown, Indiana and give them over to private developer Neace Ventures at the lowest cost possible. To catch up on this developong story read The Red Tape Times (article 20).

At the end of August, the Institute for Justice leaked a series of documents which contained the correspondence among Charlestown mayor Bob Hall, city inspector Tony Jackson, city attorney Michael Gillenwater, and Neace Ventures project manager John Hampton, from last year. The documents showed that the aforementioned city officials had colluded with Neace Ventures in lowering home appraisals in their endeavor to make using eminent domain against any 'holdouts' as cheap as possible for the developer. Their scheme was to use the city's property maintenance codes to stack fines against Pleasant Ridge homeowners and allow Neace Ventures subsidiary, Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment LLC, to buy up vacant lots from the city, further driving down home values in the neighborhood. Once the accumulated fines became over burdensome for the homeowners, the city would swoop in and offer to buy their house for $10,000, well below market value, in return for voiding the fines imposed on their property. The only other option offered was to raze their houses. As reported previously, the city inspector and mayor violated municipal, state and constitutional law in the process 1) by not notifying residents beforehand to allow corrections 2) imposing immediate accumulating fines 3) taking property without just compensation and for the exclusive use of a private entity, and 4)imposing fines without allowing homeowners to appeal the fines in a civil hearing. The leaked documents reveal that mayor Bob Hall, attorney Michael Gillenwater and project manager John Hampton planned to railroad the project through as early as July 6th of last year even though Bob Hall claimed ignorance of the project to the press the next day and told WAVE3 TV, at the end of September, that eminent domain wouldn't necessarily be used. Even before the July 6th meeting between Bob Hall and John Hampton, the mayor reached an indemnification agreement with Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment LLC, promising to compensate them for any lawsuits. What's more, the city inspector, Tony Jackson, profited from the project by doing contract work on the side removing asbestos from condemned houses. It is doubtful that any of the conspirators in this robbery will ever be criminally indicted much less face prosecution. As long as the order of the day is one set of laws for us and a separate, less strigent set of laws for politicians and bureaucrats they will continue to ruthlessly prey on their own citizens.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 36)

Lafourche Parish Rips Off Dirt Farmer In Eminent Domain Taking

Source: Institute for Justice

This one hits close to home. It is no secret that Louisiana is the most corrupt state in the union run by criminals like William 'freezer money' Jefferson, Ray 'chocolate city' Nagin, and former Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard. This story came as no surprise to me. Chad Jarreau is a dirt farmer in Cutoff, just south of New Orleans. He uses his land to mix fine grain soils for construction projects. Six years ago, the South Lafourche Levee District took a large chunk of Jarreau's land through eminent domain. Now I have no problem with governments taking undeveloped land to build infrastructure as long as the oringinal owner is justly compensated. In practice, the owner should be compensated for not only the market value of his property, but also for any lost future profits if he used it to run his business. The state only compensated him for the former. The South Lafourche Levee District had originally compensated Jarreau $11,869 for the land they took and $165,000 for lost future profits, after a trial court ruled in Jarreau's favor, but the Louisana Supreme court overturned their decision and left Jarreau with only the market value of his land. Not ony did the South Lafourche Levee District not fully compensate Jarreau, they also didn't take his land to build a levee or any other infrastructure. Rather, they took his land to mix the soil themselves so they wouldn't have to pay him. Socializing dirt farming is not essentially different than socializing any other private industry. By the Levee Board's logic, the State might as well go full Chavez and take over the oil rigs and grocery stores too. Of course, I doubt they are Bolvarian socialists, but like most public officials they are guided by expediency, greed and a lust for power. This is how you end up with socialist policies even in a conservative state.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What No One Brings Up In The Pipeline Debates

Or at least no one in the mainstream. There the contention seems to be between the environment and jobs. What most people pass over is property rights, which are gradually being suppressed by multi-national corporations and governments at every level. In Pennsylvania, a new pipeline battle between landowners and SUNOCO, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, has arisen. The contention is over the Mariner East II Pipeline: a 350 mile natural gas pipeline running west to east from the Marcellus shale formation in West Virginia and Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery near the Delaware border. Landowners victimized by the company have voiced their grievances before the commonwealth court to no avail. The company's 'right' to rob private citizen's of their property in furtherance of their own profit, for a use that the landowners themselves will have no chance to benefit from, has been upheld as a legitimate use of eminent domain.

Ralph and Doris Blume are farmers in Newville, Pennsylvania who will lose some of their land to SUNOCO for the pipeline easement. Aside from removing trees, the company also plans to destroy their hay shed, which sits on the pipeline's projected path. The fact that one business may be allowed to rob another business of part of its capital by court order just shows how much our republic has been perverted by lobbyists and their lackeys in office. The Gerharts' land in Union Township is under a similar threat from SUNOCO although they have resisted the court ordered robbery by setting up camp and inviting protestors to occupy the projected pipeline route, which is about 200 feet from their house. They have even been arrested for trespassing on their own property.

The company claims that most landowners sold their land 'voluntarily', which is clearly a lie. If it was voluntary, landowners would have the choice not to give up their land for the pipeline easement; either way they have to sell and they don't get to negotiate compensation. The most likely explanation is that these landowners knew they couldn't win in court. The company was given the power eminent domain under the specious pretext that they would provide a public utility; of course, this like their earlier claim is also false. At least some of the natural gas liquids transported through the pipeline will be shipped to Europe through the Marcus Hook refinery, which is in fact a port on the Delaware river that eventually flows into the Atlantic ocean. A company spokesman claimed the pipeline would transport ethane to the power generation facility in Cambria County that is slated to be operational by 2019. However, that facility is the CPV Fairview Energy Center, which is a primarily methane facility that will receive gas from the Spectra/TETCO pipeline owned by a completely different company. Even if their claim to provide a 'public utility' wasn't a lie, it still wouldn't stand to reason that they should be allowed to use eminent domain in counties that won't even receive the service they are providing. The Gerharts live in Huntingdon county, Ralph and Doris Blume live in Cumberland county, and most landowners along the route also don't live in Cambria county and neither do their neighbors. At least when the state uses eminent domain to build a road or an actual utility company uses it to put in power lines the people within that county, including the landowners, receive the benefit of that service.

Providing a public utility isn't even requisite to use eminent domain anyway. Ever since the Kelo decision, the vague appeal to 'economic development' is all a corporation needs to take property from private citizens, even if they don't actually produce anything afterwards. The weakening of property rights is a dangerous habit that if carried to its fullest extent will lead to the decline of civilization itself, which it is fundamental too on par with language and culture. The founding fathers recognized this fact and so enshrined property right protections into the Constitution. As a matter of fact, four out of the ten amendments that make up the bill of rights deal with property rights (I,III,IV, and V amendments).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mundelein Officials Plan To Seize Recycling Plant For Redevelopment

Source: Institute for Justice

Alan Josephsen Company has operated in the Chicago suburb of Mundelein since 1978, recycling cardboard, waste paper and paper packaging, but that may soon change. The mayor and village board of trustees plan to take their property through eminent domain and turn it over to a private developer to 'revitalize' the downtown area, replacing it with apartments and retail shops. Their rationale is that the recycling facility is an eyesore, does not provide a benefit to downtown Mundelein, and does not fit their vision for the future, but destroying someone's livelihood does not seem to be on their conscience. If the recycling company didn't provide a benefit to the community they would lose their customers and go under. The fact that they are profitable enough to remain in business means Mundelein residents do believe they provide a benefit to downtown Mundelein.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

New Pipeline Battle On The Atlantic Coast

Source: Indian Country Media Network and NC Policy Watch

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline that will run 550 miles from the fracking fields in West Virginia to Robeson County, North Carolina. It's construction will be undertaken by Dominion Resources and the pipeline will be operated by Duke Energy, with an estimated cost of $5B. Trump expedited approval for the pipeline back on January 25th when he signed EO to expedite environmental reviews and approvals for 50 high priority 'infrastructure' projects, the most prominent of which were the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an environmental impact statement for the project back in December, but has not yet issued a permit for construction.

As with almost all pipeline projects, construction cannot begin without using the guns of the state to steal other people's property. Many landowners along the proposed route have already mobilized and formed coalitions to stop the pending eminent domain seizure of their property. Landowners in Halifax County and Northampton County Virginia have already organized into the Concerned Stewards of Halifax County group to oppose the pipeline. The ACP already filed lawsuits against 27 Virginia landowners, in 2015, for permission to survey land that fell along the proposed route. The pipeline is also planned to run directly through Lumbee tribal lands in Robeson County, North Carolina. The Lumbee tribal council has yet to take a stance on the Atlantic Costal Pipeline. The Lumbee are not a federally recognized tribal nation so it is very unlikely they will be consulted when the pipeline is built through their land and even less so with Trump as president.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Update: Charlestown Mayor Leaves Evicted Residents Homeless After Giving Their Property To A Private Developer

Source: Institute for Justice

Last month, I posted about the city of Charlestown, Indiana seizing homes from Pleasant Ridge residents so they could sell their property to private developer Neace Ventures for a fraction of fair market value, which they accomplished through a petty code enforcement scheme that amounted to extortion.
The Red Tape Times (article 20)

Mayor Bob Hall, who green lighted the abuse of eminent domain on behalf of a private corporation, promised to enroll evicted Pleasant Ridge residents in a USDA program to help them find new homes, but so far he has failed to keep his promise. Thus far, only four residents have been approved for the program, only two of whom were able to secure rental apartments.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 25)

Proprietors in Emerson, NJ Fight A Pending Eminent Domain Seizure of Their Businesses

Source: Institute for Justice

Small scale proprietors and residents of the Central Business District in Emerson, New Jersey have formed a coalition called Stop Emerson Eminent Domain to prevent the Borough council from condemning their properties and handing them over to private developer JMF Properties. Eighty-two properties fall within block 419, which has been designated a condemnation redevelopment area, but in response to public backlash the borough council removed twenty-four properties from consideration. The Borough council claims that it has to seize these properties to meet its affordable housing obligations, but the developer’s agreement does not require JMF Properties to build affordable housing in the Central Business District, but rather explicitly says they will explore alternative sites. Furthermore, New Jersey’s Local Redevelopment and Housing Law does not include affordable housing as one of the criteria for establishing an Area in Need of Redevelopment. The current study of block 419 relies on New Jersey's vague legal definitions of ‘obsolete’ and ‘underutilized’ conditions, which are often used to simply transfer property from one private owner to another private owner (i.e. legal robbery). A few proprietors have spoken out against the pending eminent domain seizure of their property that would destroy their livelihoods; their comments are included below.

“The borough wants development at any cost, and will violate my rights as a hard-working small-business owner to get it,” said Dan O’Brien, owner of Academy Electrical Contractors, Inc. “They’re using affordable housing as a smokescreen for this development, and they’re abusing the state’s redevelopment law in the process.” Dan moved his business to Emerson five years ago and poured $150,000 into his property with hopes of one day handing it over to his children after he retires. “I’ve helped countless people in this borough with their electrical needs. I have 14 employees, half of whom are residents of this borough—if I lose my business, these Emerson residents lose their jobs. Our properties clearly aren’t blighted, and they are not for sale,” Dan continued.

“We invested heavily in Emerson at a time of economic downturn. Our property is essential for our small business, my livelihood and retirement. It’s a horror to watch eminent domain crush other small businesses, homes, and lives,” said Todd Bradbury, owner of Bradbury Landscape in Emerson. “No court ordered this—it was an elective move by the governing body. We are not going to sit back and watch the next block fall. Just imagine if this happened to you.”

“I came to Emerson in 1977, when I was 24 years old. Since then, I’ve built two buildings and renovated two on Chestnut Street, with no tax breaks, no special treatment, without a dime, nothing—I worked hard seven days a week, often until 1am,” said small-business owner Bob Petrow, who owns Star Properties. “I’ve contributed to many community causes. Now I depend on these buildings that I bought, built and maintained to sustain me. They’re my retirement. Now all that’s threatened.”
“Mayor Lamatina recently said in a media interview that ‘downtown sorely needs new blood,’” said Toni Plantamura-Rossi, who owns the Dairy Queen on Kinderkamack Road, which was built in 1952. “But they’re attempting to squeeze small-business owners out of the borough. We’re part of a small-business franchise and are proud to be blue-collar workers. We all need electricians and auto-mechanics…what’s wrong with these services if we’re helping everyone’s needs? When did building a successful local business that caters to the community become something to be looked down upon and not patted on the back?”

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 20)

Indiana Mayor Steals Property From Homeowners To Give To A Private Developer  

Source: Institute for Justice 

The mayor of Charleston, Indiana cooked up a scheme to circumvent an Indiana Law that prohibits the use of eminent domain for 'economic development' by shaking down the homeowners of Pleasant Ridge, a low income neighborhood that has fallen victim to this racket, with thousands of dollars in fines for such trivial bullshit as chipped paint and torn screens. The end game is to force Pleasant Ridge residents out of their own homes so the neighborhood can be bulldozed and turned over to Neace Ventures. The mayor has left Pleasant Ridge homeowners with only two options to avoid burdensome fines for trivial code violations: either sell their homes at a loss to Neace Ventures or raze their homes to the ground. As IJ points out, the municipal government has violated several laws in the process of trying to force Pleasant Ridge residents off their own property. They have violated the cities own property maintenance code by not giving residents any time to correct code violations before they are fined. They have violated Indiana's Unsafe Building Law, which prohibits immediate accumulating fines. They have violated the 5th amendment by taking property without just compensation and for the exclusive use of a private corporation. They have used fines to take property without a criminal or civil proceeding or even giving homeowners a chance to appeal the fines. The most egregious crime here is not the municipal, state and constitutional laws the mayor has violated, but theft. Taking property from a person without their consent is theft, and it does not matter if it is done by a single criminal or a criminal syndicate that calls itself a government; theft is theft in either case. When governments begin to imitate the very criminals they were instituted to protect  their citizens from, they should be deposed. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Escaping The False Dilemma of Mainstream Politics

If you stick around this blog long enough, you will notice that there is a common theme in every entry. Yes I am anti-government for the most part and condemn every violation of Constitutional or moral law at the federal, state, county and municipal level, but government is not the only aggressor. The recent DAPL conflict and the earlier KeyStone XL Pipeline conflict demonstrated that corporations could seize private property under the false pretense of providing a public utility: an action made legal by the ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, a case in which the private developer never made good on their promises after they evicted the homeowners. The war in Afghanistan is mostly a private war, in which private contractors outnumber troops 3 to 1, or about 29,000 contractors to 9,000 troops. Chiquita hired death squads to murder labor activists in Colombia. If all governments hypothetically collapsed the next biggest entities, public corporations, would fill in the power vacuum, and we would be left with a despotism even less accountable to the people.

The common theme here is not anti-government, but opposition to the concentration of power, within any agent or corporate body, whether governmental or private. Due to the volatile nature of U.S. politics, I am constantly refining what this means. Up until 2014, the  Democratic party was the dominant contender in Washington, but the rise of populism, the election of Donald Trump, and a Republican sweep of both the House and Senate, along with a pending Supreme Court nominee, has not only shifted U.S. politics to the right, it has also split the left and right further apart. But no matter who is in charge, the concentration of power in Washington is always abused to the fullest extent tolerable by the electorate. No matter whether we have a Republican administration or a Democratic one, our constitutional rights are gradually diminished, the scope of the executive office grows, as does the overall size of the federal government, and lobbyists set their policy priorities. Their values and rhetoric may be different, but their outcomes are the same. Both share a common strategy of divide and conquer and as long as we are distracted by recycled platitudes about 'personal responsibility' and 'christian values' or 'social responsibility' and 'lgbtq rights', we are inevitably stuck in a vicious cycle of choosing lesser evils.

Expediency is the mother of despotism 

Neither party has a coherent theory of justice. No matter who is in charge, their arguments for expanding the scope of their office is usually the same; it's for 'national security', 'public safety' or 'job growth'. All are appeals to expediency. The soundness of their arguments is inconsequential; their shoddy justifications are not meant to appeal to our rationality. Fear of an external threat and anxiety over financial security is the best way to garner compliance with expedient policies. By keeping the electorate in a constant state of fear and anxiety, the political class can bypass the high road*, avoiding conscious processing, and appeal to their survival emotions (amygdala). The intended result is a collectivist mentality willing to surrender natural rights for 'security' and 'the general welfare' until the external threat or source of anxiety is removed, which is never the intention of people in power, because political power is addictive* and tends to reinforce itself. The craving for it can only be gratified by incremental power at the expense of the electorate, who will eventually find themselves under the heel of an absolutist state if they don't speak out against the early warning signs.  The electorate is being gradually conditioned to except incremental government oversight over their affairs, so that they seem commonplace.

* According to Ledoux Theory of Emotion there are two pathways for emotion: the direct pathway (low road) from thalamus to amygdala and the indirect pathway (high road) from thalamus through the cerebral cortex to the amygdala.

*Dr. Ian Robertson, in his study of baboon hierarchies, has found that feelings of power/dominance over others triggers the release of dopamine, which reinforces power grabbing behavior.

Politics is Just Another Form of Tribalism

It is a curious thing how the anti-war left went silent once Obama took over and expanded Bush's wars and continued to build his surveillance state, but now that these powers have been handed over to Trump they've completely lost their mind. The left was silent when Obama sent special forces to fight in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen without congressional approval and killed hundreds of civilians through drone warfare. The same conservatives that loudly protested Obamacare were cheering when Bush signed the largest expansion of Medicare into law. The same conservatives were silent and even dismissive when Bush turned a $120B surplus into a $1.4T deficit and added $6T to the national debt, but pretended to be deficit hawks under the Obama administration. For both sides, any policy they admonish when they don't control the White House is ok as long as it's their guy doing it. They are unprincipled men whose only precept is in-group loyalty at any cost. This is not to suggest that both parties are the same; a cursory glance at their platforms would demonstrate otherwise. What is meant here is that how party lines are drawn depends on who is in power; in particular, it depends on who controls the executive office. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Repercussions of Pipeline Approvals on Property Rights

Free market proponents often exempt pipeline construction from scrutiny and tend to assume that erring on the side of economic freedom means always supporting approval for pipeline construction. Protests are met with shallow platitudes about 'energy independence', 'job creation', and 'growth', all of which are tentative at best. These platitudes are countered by different platitudes about 'global warming', 'climate change', and 'clean energy.' What is left unexamined in this ruckus are the unintended effects, not on the environment or GDP growth rates, but on one of the very pillars of civilization: property rights. This is why the false dilemma of U.S. politics is called a false dilemma: it assumes only the extremities and omits the intermediates. Under the original 5th amendment, which has been gutted by our criminal government, eminent domain could only be used to seize private property for public use, which is a position I still disagree with because it does not exclude confiscating peoples' homes or businesses. This was changed in Kelo v. City of New London, which gave private corporations eminent domain power and expanded the doctrine of public use to ambiguously mean any development that may result in economic growth. On paper, anyone's property rights can be usurped if someone else comes along and claims they can make better use of the land. The precedent set by this ruling has had a number of implications in recent years, most notably, pipeline companies have used it to seize land from family farms and ranchers, that have held tenure for several generations, under the vague and now worthless public use doctrine.

Back in early 2015 when the KeyStone XL pipeline was the proposed panacea for unemployment, few pundits on either side of the aisle took into consideration the destruction of property rights that would have occurred if Obama had approved the pipeline (this was one of the few times I agreed with him). In Texas alone, 102 landowners, most of them farmers and ranchers, would have been forced to allow a foreign corporation to build a pipeline on their land. They attempted to do the same thing against 90 unwilling landowners in Nebraska without success.

Energy Transfer Partners, the same company tied up in the Dakota Access Pipeline, seized land from ranchers in the Big Bend region of Texas so they could ship gas to Mexico through the Trans-Pesco pipeline. More, recently they used eminent domain against landowners in Iowa and South Dakota to build the pending Dakota Access Pipeline.

The end does not justify the means. Every assault against property rights on the basis of expediency sets a precedent for the further erosion of property rights and draws us a step closer to despotism. This is clear when past assaults against property rights are taken into account; a disturbing trend emerges when the concession of a corporate prerogative to seize private property is taken into consideration with other aggressions against property rights e.g. civil asset forfeiture, anti-structuring laws, warrantless wiretapping, and ever increasing occupational licensing laws. Every aggression builds up political momentum towards an absolutist state, reversing its function from a system that was meant to protect property rights from criminal trespass to a criminal syndicate that destroys property rights.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Know Nothing Bimbo Regurgitates Exploded Corporate Propaganda Talking points about DAPL

Discredited ideas never seem to die. We live in an age where Cartesian dualism and Malthusian population theory still hold sway in popular opinion. Hell! There's even a flat earth society. You would think that the free competition of ideas and open debate would tend to eliminate invalid ideas and promote sound ideas, but a combination of social engineering, centralized control of the media, and plain ole bias human nature has rendered such an ideal unattainable. The closest thing we have to free competition of ideas is the alternative media and that may soon disappear.

0:14 - 0:28 Genetic Fallacy

Simply being from South Dakota and having family in North Dakota does not make your arguments valid or your conclusions sound. Even people that live in those states must find primary sources otherwise they are merely relying on gossip.

0:39 - 0:46 Rail Car transport is actually safer than pipeline if you're talking about the quantity of oil spilled and not the frequency of spills

As I noted in Corporate Propaganda about DAPL Exposed (Part 2)

One of the talking points that the Big oil lobby and their useful idiots (neoliberal dupes) like to tout is that pipelines are the safest way to transport oil. This of course is nothing more than a sleight of hand. If by safer, they mean that pipeline leaks occur less frequently than rail and truck spills, then they are correct.

According to the '2013 Oil Medium - Term Market Report', produced by International Energy Agency, the rail versus pipeline incident ratio is 2:1, that is to say, the risk of a train spill is two times higher than that of a pipeline leak.
'Our calculation implies 0.09 incidents and 26 barrels released per 1 billion barrel-miles of crude oil transported by pipeline during a 2004 - 2012 period. Comparing that with figures for rail, we quantify the risk of a train incident to be 6 times higher than that of a pipeline, while pipelines spill 3 times more per 1 billion barrel miles of crude oil transported, over the 2004 - 2012 period. '
'Any spill constitutes a railway incident in these calculations, while only spills over 5 gallons constitutes a pipeline spill. Putting both modes of transport on a level playing field by considering spills over 5 gallons only, the rail versus pipeline incident ratio would be only 2:1. '
However, if by safer they mean the amount of crude spilled is less, then rail and truck transportation is safer than pipeline transportation.
'Increasing volumes of crude oil transported by rail raise questions of safety. Our analysis reveals that compared to pipelines, rail incident rates are higher (2 times higher) while the opposite holds for spill rates.' 
Comparing that with figures for rail, we quantify the risk of a train incident to be 6 times higher than that of a pipeline, while pipelines spill 3 times more per 1 billion barrel miles of crude oil transported, over the 2004 - 2012 period. '
Pipelines spilled 25.9 barrels per 1 billion barrel miles of crude, while trains spilled 8.6 barrels per 1 billion barrel-miles of crude oil. Within in the same time period, pipelines released 424,000 barrels of crude while trains released 2,269 barrels of crude. Clearly transporting crude by pipeline is less safe than transporting crude by rail car, and neither is safe in the long run. Perhaps when they said 'safer' they meant cheaper.

Notice that Tomi does not cite any facts, figures, or statistics in her argument, just cheap appeals to authority and wild grasping at straws.

1:02 - 1:06 Does Tomi even logic?

Does she realize that their current water intake is already downstream from the pipeline and that moving it further downstream doesn't prevent contamination?

1:11 - 1:15 Strawman

The pipeline is on tribal lands, said no one ever. If you can't cite any source or example of this claim then I have no recourse but to assume that you pulled it out of your ass to make your opponents look incredulous.

1:44 400 meetings in two years? And the tribal leaders never bothered to show up to any of them?

Wherever Tomi got her numbers, and I suspect she got them from the same site I debunked back in October, the fact of the matter is that tribal council members met with DAPL representatives as early as September 30, 2014: 3 months before the company applied for a permit and 20 months before they began construction.

The Tribal Historic Preservation Office contacted the Army Corps as early as February 2015, several months before construction began, and again in April of the same year, without receiving a response to any of the concerns they raised, their request for an environmental impact statement and and their request for tribal consultation.

Oddly enough, the former Stand Rocking historic preservation officer did file court documents in the beginning of August that provided details concerning culturally and historically significant sites.

2:01 Poisoning the well

Lets compare apples to apples

As I noted in Corporate Propaganda About DAPL Exposed (Part 1) Dakota Access couldn't have even started the project without 'infringing on private property.' Of course, like all good neoliberal thugs, they had the government to do their dirty work.
'Dakota Access filed suit against the Minnehaha County landowners in April (2015), saying its surveyors need to check all properties along the proposed route to determine if the land is suitable for an underground crude oil line. The company has filed similar legal action in Lincoln County against others.’
Minnehaha County, SD judge, Mark Salter, granted DAPL the right of way to survey the property of 24 landowners months before the PUC even permitted construction, which suggests the PUC hearing was nothing more than a formality, and Judge Mark Salter was simply streamlining the construction process i.e. the landowners who “voluntarily" agreed to easements didn’t have any other choice.
'Joy Hohn, one of the landowners involved in the case, said she was "highly disappointed" by the ruling.'
"An oil leak to the west of Sioux Falls could run through farm drainage tiles and tributaries that go through the Sioux River, Skunk Creek and Wall Lake," Hohn said. "This would affect the water aquifers for Sioux Falls and surrounding communities.”
Joy's husband Rod Hohn said after the hearing that he feels as though opponents are "fighting a losing battle.”
"They're just pushing this thing through with an iron fist," he said.
 DAPL doesn't shy away from using brute force wherever they meet resistance. Landowners that aren't willing to 'voluntarily' allow construction on their land, which is agricultural for the most part, actually don't have a choice after all; the holdouts in Iowa found this out the hard way.
'Dick and Judy Lamb, a farm couple with land west of Ames (Iowa) that will be cut diagonally by the pipeline, said they were informed Monday that their crops had been cut but were told they would not be notified 48 hours prior to construction commencing on their land.’
"There just aren't words to describe having the government seize your land and destroy it and have no recourse and nothing you can do. It's an anger and a hopelessness that I have difficulty expressing," Dick Lamb said.  
It appears Tomi cares about property rights as much as any Republican politician does, which is to say she only cares about the property rights of the Republican's corporate donors. Apparently violence and vandalism are ok when the government does it on behalf of private corporations; how very conservative of her.

2:37 The mainstream media has been silent about the protests.

Has Tomi been anywhere outside of the echo chamber circle jerk that is the alt right spin zone? MSM has said next to nothing about the protest. Nada. Zilch.

The only source she cited in her video is her Facebook which is filled with the most vain and mind numbing stupidity.

Oh, did I mention that the oil moved through this pipeline will be exported to Asia. So much for all that talk about 'energy independence' and all that other hot garbage.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Preview of the Trump Presidency

A year ago, I said this clown would fade into irrelevancy once the Iowa caucuses came around. I have never been more wrong in my life. His make it up on the fly policies will truly work wonders for this country.

Side Note: Being critical of Trump does not necessarily imply prior support for Clinton or Obama. Not everyone is confined to the false dialectic.

In some regards, Trump is more Hawkish than both Hillary and Obama. All of his pre-election speeches indicate that he plans to dramatically increase defense spending and revamp both the army and Navy. Although he is not as hostile to Russia and Syria, he is the only candidate that supports a ground invasion of Libya and Syria. On top of this, he supports all seven drone wars currently being carried out and will probably expand the CIA program to more countries. A man who talks openly about murdering non-combatant civilians (i.e. 'take out their families') and invading sovereign nations is not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination (the term itself is a strawman). He is also the only candidate that holds the frightening belief that nuclear weapons should be used liberally.

Trump has shown as much disregard for our constitutional rights as he has shown for human life. His police state will be several fold worse than Obama's police state. Trump has voiced support for bringing back torture, even if it doesn't work, and believes that Americans citizens accused of terrorism should be tried in military courts. He is on record as supporting the continuation of the PRISM program and wants to re-authourize the Patriot Act. He has no qualms with using the terrorist watch list and no fly list to restrict our liberties without due process and a chance to appeal, and has suggested that people who appear on the no fly list and terrorist watch list should be prohibited from buying firearms. His reflexive authoritarian appeals to expediency, and consequently, absolute police power, only gets worse because he is the only candidate to propose a national stop and frisk. Only God knows what else lies at the bottom of the Pandora's box that is this man's twisted mind.

Most of Trump's domestic policy proposals indicate that he will be a bigger spendthrift president than both Obama (-10T) and Bush (-5T), even though he has promised to reduce the federal deficit. He will, in his own words, double the amount Hillary would have spent renovating national infrastructure, from $275B to $550 - 500B and perhaps even more. He will also dramatically increase defense spending, expanding the army and Navy, which Forbes estimated will cost an additional $500B to 1T. His proposed block grant for school vouchers will cost an additional 20B. This is just the tip of the iceberg. He has proposed to do much more while also cutting taxes. This is the same man that thinks imposing high tariffs on imported goods from China will bring back manufacturing jobs even though manufacturing has shifted to automation. Tariffs are ultimately a tax on wages; the brunt of his boneheaded trade policies will be felt by the working class who spend the greatest proportion of their income on consumer goods. Even the Chinese labor force, who presumably 'stole our jobs', are being displaced by automation.
The Changying Precision Technology Company factory in Dongguan has automated production lines that use robotic arms to produce parts for cell phones. The factory also has automated machining equipment, autonomous transport trucks, and other automated equipment in the warehouse.Previously, there were 650 employees at the factory. With the new robots, there's now only 60.
The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs,” said the department’s head Xu Yulian. As many as 600 major companies in Kunshan have similar plans, according to a government survey.

His promise to bring back a manufacturing based economy is pure fantasy. If he was truly concerned about chronic unemployment he would address the skills gap and not attempt to turn back the clock 40 years.

The fact that he supports the Kelo vs. City of New London decision only further shows that he is unprincipled. His precept is the law of the jungle. Whatever benefits him is permissible at any cost, even if it means seizing someone's home because it stands in the way of potential profits. If he abused his power as a real-estate mogul with political connections, which he used to get generous subsidies from NY city (885M to be exact) and tried to seize a widow's home, then we cannot begin to imagine the nightmare that lies ahead.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Corporate Propaganda About DAPL Exposed (Part 1)

If you want to make it obvious that you have an ulterior motive but want to pretend that other people won't catch on, you should name your material "The truth about ___" or my favorite "Fact Checker", so that in your attempt to appear as an objective bystander, less naive people will notice that you're trying too hard to appear objective. is a laughable example of corporate propagandists trying to pretend that they are objective bystanders. The impression that they're trying to give is that there is no legitimate reason to protest the DAPL construction, using the standard msm tactic of lying by omission and tearing down strawmen. A few excerpts illustrate the lengths these people will go to distort reality.

"1.CLAIM: The pipeline encroaches on indigenous lands.

TRUTH: The Dakota Access Pipeline traverses a path on private property and does not cross into the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation. 100% of landowners in North Dakota voluntarily signed easements to allow for construction of the pipeline on their property. Nearly the entire route of the 1,172 mile pipeline has been sited and approved by relevant state and federal agencies and more than 22% of the pipeline has already been completed. To the extent possible, the Dakota Access Pipeline was routed to parallel existing infrastructure, such as the Northern Border Pipeline, to avoid environmentally sensitive areas and areas of potential cultural significance."

The Standing Rock Sioux has made no such claim; their claim is that it endangers their only source of water: the Missouri river that passes through their reservation. Perhaps someone in the comments section of some YouTube video mistakenly made this claim, but that doesn't make it relevant to the issue at hand. And since they didn't provide a source for this claim, I have no recourse expect to assume they pulled it out of their ass. It is even more disingenuous to pretend that the Indian tribes are the only obstacle in the way of the pipeline when there are several white farming families who are still fighting DAPL in Iowa and nearly three quarters of their peers are opposed to using eminent domain to seize private property for private corporations. It's not just a few disgruntled Indian tribes; everyone has a stake in this.

The real kicker is that if you dig far enough, that is to say not very far at all, you'll find that the source for all of their claims is the same corporation building the pipeline. That would be like me citing myself as proof of my own claims.

One of their claims is that Dakota Access received near unanimous consent from landowners across all four states and unanimous consent from landowners in North Dakota and South Dakota. In other  words, the corporate propagandist would have you believe that every single landowner, along DAPL trajectory, in North Dakota and South Dakota, signed a voluntary easement agreement and welcomed DAPL with open arms. What they don't tell you is that DAPL intimated landowners into giving up their land by threatening to file a lawsuit against them in 2015.
'Dakota Access filed suit against the Minnehaha County landowners in April (2015), saying its surveyors need to check all properties along the proposed route to determine if the land is suitable for an underground crude oil line. The company has filed similar legal action in Lincoln County against others.’
Minnehaha County, SD judge, Mark Salter, granted DAPL the right of way to survey the property of 24 landowners months before the PUC even permitted construction, which suggests the PUC hearing was nothing more than a formality, and Judge Mark Salter was simply streamlining the construction process i.e. the landowners who “voluntarily" agreed to easements didn’t have any other choice.
'Joy Hohn, one of the landowners involved in the case, said she was "highly disappointed" by the ruling.'
"An oil leak to the west of Sioux Falls could run through farm drainage tiles and tributaries that go through the Sioux River, Skunk Creek and Wall Lake," Hohn said. "This would affect the water aquifers for Sioux Falls and surrounding communities.”
Joy's husband Rod Hohn said after the hearing that he feels as though opponents are "fighting a losing battle.”
"They're just pushing this thing through with an iron fist," he said.
The Lincoln County Judge denied DAPL the right of way to survey property owner’s land before the PUC permitted construction.
'A dozen Lincoln County landowners opposing the project asked the court to stop the company from going onto their land to survey it for the pipeline. Judge Brad Zell agreed with the landowners under South Dakota's eminent domain laws, saying a permit would be required.’
These landowners 'voluntarily' agreed to easements in the same way that they 'voluntarily' pay income taxes. A more likely explanation is that they couldn't afford to fight DAPL's legal team in court. 

DAPL doesn't shy away from using brute force wherever they meet resistance. Landowners that aren't willing to 'voluntarily' allow construction on their land, which is agricultural for the most part, actually don't have a choice after all; the holdouts in Iowa found this out the hard way. 
'Dick and Judy Lamb, a farm couple with land west of Ames (Iowa) that will be cut diagonally by the pipeline, said they were informed Monday that their crops had been cut but were told they would not be notified 48 hours prior to construction commencing on their land.’
"There just aren't words to describe having the government seize your land and destroy it and have no recourse and nothing you can do. It's an anger and a hopelessness that I have difficulty expressing," Dick Lamb said. 
Censoring protesters isn't off limits either; even people who protest against construction on their own property are subject to arrest. Just recently an Iowa woman was arrested, on her own property, for blocking construction crews from leveling her family's crops, and not too long ago, a man was arrested for protesting the placement of the pipeline through his well. It seems Dakota Access will go to any length to put their pipeline in the ground, even if it means treading on the rights of people who don't comply with them. Where are the Tea Party protesters with their Gadsden flags when you need them?