Botsfords Fight Back Against Enbridge Land Grab

Last year, the ND courts ruled in favor of Enbridge in a lawsuit against the Botsford family that attempts to condemn their land and force the Sandpiper pipeline on it. The ND judge ruled that Enbridge (a Canadian corporation) could use eminent domain powers to do that. On January 15, 2016, the Botsfords appealed the case to the ND Supreme Court.  They feel that eminent domain should be reserved for things that serve the public, not foreign profits. They feel they have a right to say no, we dont want our farmland to be poisoned. We agree.

Donate to their legal defense fund here (their costs are exorbitant!)

Here's the update directly from James and Krista:

"We won some small but significant victories in the trial court, although we lost on the central far.

The trial judge did these things in our favor:

  1. Ruled that if the pipeline isn't built within five years Enbridge loses its easement on our land. That's because this is a forcible taking through eminent domain so either use it or lose it.

  2. Ruled that only oil could be transported across the easement on our land. This means for example that Alberta Tar Sands could not be diverted into this proposed pipeline or through a new pipeline Enbridge might want to put in the same easement because those tar sands do not meet North Dakota's definition of "oil".

  3. Enbridge was ordered by the Court to pay $45,000 of our attorney fees. Our legal fees were $60,000 by that point. 

Enbridge however won on the big issue of whether or not their taking of our land was an abuse of the governmental power of eminent domain. We think it was because it was a foreign corporation taking our private property for their corporate profit purposes. We wanted the Court to allow us to present our reasons for saying NO to participating in this pipeline project, from its foundation in atmospheric carbon and climate change to the abuse of the governmental power of eminent domain. But the judge denied us the opportunity.

We are appealing these and other aspects of the case.

Even though Enbridge was forced to pay a portion of our attorney fees up to the point of our trial date, Enbridge is fighting that award. Plus the attorney fees continue to mount as we prepared for and filed the Appeal, and now even more as we enter the arena of the North Dakota Supreme Court. 

Be assured that Enbridge's attempts to intimidate us have had the opposite effect on us and our fine legal team. This is far from over."

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