Sunday, December 10, 2017

Heartland Continues its Anti-Property-Rights Agitation on Behalf Keystone XL

At one time, The Heartland Institute seemed like a fairly reliable defender of property rights, pursuing its stated mission to "discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems." Or maybe I just wasn't noticing their deviations from same.

But the position they promote on the Keystone XL Pipeline puts them front and center among those -- usually regarded as on the statist left -- claiming that economic "efficiency," "development," and "growth" trump property rights. As with Paul Driessen's column yesterday, "Keystone Is Anti-hydrocarbon Zealotry in Microcosm."

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) recently voted to approve the state’s segment of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL Pipeline. While that would appear to allow construction to move forward, more obstacles loom before KXL can finally bring North Dakota and Canadian crude oil to Texas refineries.

Commissioners who voted against approval have raised objections, some landowners still object to the pipeline crossing their lands, other landowners were not aware that the new route will cross their properties, and environmentalists plan more lawsuits to stop TransCanada’s plans to finish Keystone.

See what he did there? The rest of the column focuses on everything except that passing reference to private property owners who don't want to sell to TransCanada, or who don't even know yet that TransCanada has its eyes on their land. Both groups either already have, or soon will, find out that the state government is in cahoots with TransCanada and prepared to steal their land from under them.

Driessen's conclusion: "Keystone XL is a vital addition to America’s pipeline system. It’s not perfect. But it is essential for a healthier, safer, more prosperous United States. Building it will create tens of thousands of jobs."

Unstated but essential component of Driessen's position: If land owners don't want the pipeline on their land, screw'em, just steal it.

Pursuant to his position, Driessen also recommends the imposition of draconian police state measures to shut up those dirty hippies who are inclined to protest: "Require permits and multi-million-dollar surety bonds for every encampment, to ensure safety, lawful activities, and cleanup of human and other wastes. Prohibit wearing of ski masks and collect IDs, fingerprints and photos of every activist."

Of course, that last bit follows inexorably from the first bit. If building the pipeline is more important than property rights in land, it's surely also more important than freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Class enemies must be liquidated before utopia can be realized, see?

Added a few hours after the initial post: Compare Heartland's bits on Keystone to its response to the Supreme Court's ruling in Kelo v. New London. Hint: Exact opposites.

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