When individuals like Texas landowners go up against massive oil companies, the odds are often stacked against them from the very beginning. This week, however, one former Marine from an East Texas town north of Houston won an injunction against an oil company’s construction plans. The injunction will delay the company’s attempts to build part of its transcontinental pipeline across his land.
This pipeline project has attracted criticism throughout Texas. Many landowners are worried about hazardous environmental damage that could occur on their property if the company is allowed to ship enormous amounts of oil products across it.
Citing concerns about the likelihood of chemical leaks occurring near his home as a result of the pipeline, this landowner convinced a judge to grant an injunction. This merely means that the oil company has to immediately stop construction until the court resolves the landowner’s lawsuit against it.
Long pipelines can pose a big maintenance challenge for oil companies. Instead of vigilantly patrolling lines that stretch from Texas refineries all the way to Canada, companies often take a more responsive approach. This means that they do very little to prevent leaks and blowouts because they expect to be able to out-litigate the landowner if an accident does occur.
By trying to overwhelm individual plaintiffs, oil companies often escape much of the liability by offering low-ball settlement deals. Anyone who has suffered contamination or other property damage as the result of this industry’s activities should consult with an experienced Texas oil and gas lawyer.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Judge temporarily halts Keystone XL pipeline in Texas,” Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Dec. 11, 2012