- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.
Lawyers representing affected Texas landowners asked us to assist in litigation strategy against the proposed Kinder Morgan Permian Highway Pipeline ("PHP"), 430-miles from the Waha, Texas, area to the Gulf Coast and Mexico markets. We are now working on three separate, but extremely intertwined, cases: a state court case against the Texas Railroad Commission on the grounds that PHP is not a "public use" under the Texas Constitution's Takings Clause, along with federal and state Due Process claims based on the lack of any state oversight for pipeline siting; a case against the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and possibly other federal agencies in federal court for their failure to require NEPA analysis for PHP; and a case against Kinder Morgan and possibly FERC in federal court arguing that PHP is not an intrastate pipeline subject only to the Texas regulatory regime, but an interstate pipeline subject to FERC's jurisdiction.
A victory on the public use and/or Due Process claims, or a decision holding that PHP is an interstate pipeline, would not only stop PHP, but have huge ramifications for every intrastate pipeline in Texas. These are the two of the three cases in which Niskanen would appear publicly as counsel; we would not appear as counsel in the NEPA case as that raises only environmental issues outside of Niskanen's interests.
Our program is national and the work for these additional projects are in Texas, but have national implications. We have been asked to help with proposed legislation that would create a more robust state regulatory regime, and would include serious procedural and substantive protections for affected landowners; we have just completed a memo describing intrastate gas pipeline regulatory regimes and landowner protections in Iowa, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
(Check sent: 7/12/2019)