by Max Brantley
Thanks to Steve Harrelson's Under the Dome for a link to a simmering legal dispute of some huge interest as the Fayetteville Shale is explored. Is a pipeline company building lines to connect wells with transmission lines a "common carrier" -- and thus able to condemn private property? A court case underway in White County is addressing the issue. Down the line, the decision could mean more leverage for landowners and, if that happens, an effort to change the Arkansas Constitution.
Normally, eminent domain isn't allowed for private taking of private property. So far, though, gas company money seems to trump any number of customary concerns.