If there’s anything the Tea Party hates, it’s whatever the government is doing right now. Which means greens have picked up some unusual allies in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline: Texas Tea Partiers who think the project violates property rights.
“Crippling someone’s water supply knows no party line,” said Rita Beving, consultant to the bipartisan East Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission. A Republican mayor and a Democratic city secretary lead the group’s fight against the pipeline.
TransCanada has shown itself willing to use eminent domain to acquire land to build the pipeline. The company says it prefers to come to “voluntary agreements” whereby landowners sell their land, but just on the off chance that you would rather not give up your land and instead keep your land, they’re prepared to take it. This sits about as well with Tea Partiers as a gay clinic escort melting down a gun and turning it into a hammer and sickle.
And in Texas, at least, they’re willing to bring that anger to the stump, making the pipeline into a major campaign issue for hard-right candidates.
T.J. Fabby is one such contender. He has made the eminent-domain issue a part of his campaign against state Rep. Jim Pitts, chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee. A spokesman for Pitts said the lawmaker doesn’t have a position on the pipeline yet but is a “big-time proponent” of private-property rights.
The Sierra Club’s Davis is counting on that.
“As of now, [state officials] have been hook, line and sinker about oil, as Texans are,” Davis said. “But they’re always worried about their tea party constituents. They don’t want to get primaried.”