by Max Brantley
It's HB 1042 by Nate Bell and Jason Rapert, two names that should strike fear in the hearts of fair-minded people.
One of those lonely activists who's on the lookout for damaging exploitation of Arkansas people and their resources in Fayetteville shale exploration sees a dark intent in the provision to extend common carrier protection to pipeline companies. Existing case law already works in the pipeline companies' favor, by calling it a public use if it can be shown a pipeline was not exclusively for the benefit of a single company, but could draw supplies from various producers. The argument being made by my correspondent against the pending legislation is that certain gas companies have locked down so much land in Arkansas that their pipelines in some cases will serve only their benefit, not a public use. Thus, he argues, the law to expand eminent domain powers to them is actually making the law CONTRARY to private landowners' interest.
Jason Rapert advocate for more power to condemn private land in the Fayetteville shale for gas companies? Under the guise of expanding private property protection? Jason Rapert be dishonest? You might as well tell me that Jason Rapert's original bill to virtually ban abortion would have required a transvaginal probe of women. He said it didn't and if you can't trust Jason Rapert ....
I'm sure he and the Hon. Rep. Bell can explain all this away at the proper time.