Ed Southern and his wife own land in Texas that is on the planned 61 miles of new pipeline being constructed from the Eagle Ford Shale to the Houston Ship Channel. Kinder Morgan, a natural gas pipeline company, is laying down the pipeline.
Southern was offered $54,000 for the pipeline to run through the property, but when he realized that the pipeline would go through an oak grove that had been on the property for generations, he countered the offer by asking for an increase in reimbursement so he could replant 12 oak trees. The oak trees to be cut down are important for shade for cattle on the land as well as supplying acorns used in cattle feed.
The Kinder representative countered the new offer with less than a third of what was requested. “They’ll pay for grass, they’ll pay for the fence they tear down, but they told me they don’t pay for trees,” said Southern. Southern decided to go ahead and sign the agreement, but was served soon after the signing with an eminent domain lawsuit, which allows the company to go ahead with plans and the landowner is unable to keep them out.
Once the trees are cut down, new trees can’t be planted near the pipeline so that the pipeline will be free of roots. Southern is unhappy to see his old oak trees cut down – some he thinks are over 100 years old – but he’s trying to accept it.