Pipeline Observer

Partnership With an Energy Transport Company a Life-Changing Relationship

Published in February, 2019

Let CAEPLA help get your “marriage” off to a good start

 

Only cooperation with your neighbours and a voluntary, free-market approach founded on property rights can protect your farm, family and prosperity.

 

By Annette Schinborn

 

From the moment you find out you are in the path of a proposed energy transport project, your life changes.

You can receive notice through the mail with an invitation to an information meeting or you might hear about it when a smooth-talkin’, good-lookin’ land agent knocks on your door with a sales pitch you can’t refuse.

Suddenly there is a lot of anxiety — and understandably so.

Many landowners who already have pipelines on their property understand how they can interfere with their farm production. 

Some remember the times they have felt disrespected because of the threat of expropriation when presented with papers to sign. Landowners who have never had a pipeline and don’t know what’s involved feel the stress of navigating an unfamiliar process.

So where do you turn for help? After all, the land agent works for the company, not you.

When landowners need advice about their taxes or other bookkeeping matters they talk to an accountant. If they need advice on soil fertility, they see an agrologist. If they have questions about chemicals for their crops they see a specialist at their ag chemical dealer.

But where can landowners go for proven expertise and assistance when they find themselves in the path of a pipe or power line?

Who can help you, the landowner, navigate the maze of regulations, cooperate with your neighbours, shed light on the situation, provide specialized legal services and negotiating expertise?

The Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations (CAEPLA) can.

CAEPLA is the only national grassroots property rights organization that works with all landowners, from farmers and ranchers to woodlot and acreage owners.

We even provide advice to the growing number of urban residents concerned with pipeline safety.

CAEPLA is not only an advocate for your rights, but a negotiator of “win-win” business agreements on linear projects.

CAEPLA is pro-energy and pro-energy transport. We understand how essential abundant cheap energy is to the ag sector and urban residents alike.

Ultimately we are all pipeline landowners, whether we run a family farm business or rely on natural gas for our homes.

Energy is essential for farmers and ranchers to provide our society with food security.

The team members at CAEPLA come from farm backgrounds and the organization grew out of the pipeline landowners movement of the post-war era.

From long experience, our landowners have learned that government and regulations cannot be relied upon to protect our rights. Agencies like the National Energy Board (NEB) are not there for you — heck, they aren’t even any good for industry.

CAEPLA came to be out of the realization that only cooperation with your neighbours and a voluntary, free-market approach founded on property rights can protect your farm, family and prosperity.

Expropriation by definition is a violation of your property rights and a threat to your prosperity.

Yes, some landowners who are new to this think that negotiating an easement agreement with a pipeline or power line company is the same as negotiating for a combine or other piece of farm equipment, buying a piece of property or most other business transactions they conduct. 

What they soon come to realize is that they are not negotiating on a level playing field. The pipeline company can always ask the regulator to expropriate your property for its project if you don’t agree to the terms it puts in front of you.

It becomes a “take it or leave it” proposition.

But getting a pipeline or power line doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing scenario.

Quite the opposite: by coming together with your neighbours and consulting CAEPLA, we can quickly broker winning agreements that work for you and the company.

We have been doing it for decades now.

Construction methods, liability issues, bio-security protocols, ingress/egress rights, landowner construction monitors, soil mitigation procedures and proper compensation are just some of the things that belong in a good business agreement.

In fact, CAEPLA negotiated a settlement for directly affected landowners on the then-proposed Keystone XL pipeline back in 2008. That agreement with its precedent-setting safety, environmental and stewardship standards convinced the NEB to approve the project in Canada.

Landowners in Alberta and Saskatchewan came together with CAEPLA to negotiate and work with TransCanada to set the bar higher than the NEB could even dream of — the same as we had done a year earlier with Enbridge on the Alberta Clipper and the Southern Lights projects.

With U.S. President Donald Trump recently giving the thumbs-up to Keystone XL south of the border, CAEPLA hopes to help broker the same win-win relationships in the U.S. as we have done in Canada.

A partnership is the best way for the relationship between a landowner and energy transport company to start, because the relationship can last for generations.

As one pipeline CEO puts it, the relationship is a lot like a marriage.

 

 

Annette Schinborn is CEO and Director of Landowner Relations at CAEPLA. Before joining the team at CAEPLA, Annette worked with grassroots nonprofits including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Prairie Centre and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. She has worked closely with farmers, ranchers and other landowners on issues such as tax and agricultural policy and now energy transport and property rights.

 

Published in PIPELINE OBSERVER SPRING 2017