Eminent domain allows the government to forcibly buy private land if it is needed for public use, which is why “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart is baffled that Republicans, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, are in favor allowing TransCanada to proceed with its Keystone Pipeline Project.
“TransCanada can’t just lay pipe anywhere it wants to. It’s not Bill Cosby,” Stewart joked.
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The $7 billion project, which President Obama and environmentalists are not in favor of, plans to lay a 1,179-mile pipeline across the entire county to carry oil sands from Canada to Texas, where it would be refined.
Republicans have been pushing for approval of the project for years, but one of the major hurdles is that TransCanada will rely on eminent domain laws to secure hundreds of miles of private property — an act Republican lawmakers opposed when suggested it be used for the conservation of land, or to further private corporations’ economic development.
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“So much for the constitutional guarantee that your property can only be taken for public use, not private,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said in an old clip Stewart provided.
“But this is different. Clearly the Keystone Pipeline is not private use, it’s public use,” Stewart said. “Anybody in America could drive their tar sand oil up to Canada, and ship it back down that pipeline, whether it be TransCanada — the private corporation that built it — or an average American, with an excess of tar sand oil.”
So how does Sen. Cruz, one of the chief proponents of the pipeline, justify his party’s interest in the energy project, despite it’s position against the abuse of eminent domain?
“I am disturbed by eminent domain abuse, because I think private property rights are fundamental to who we are as Americans… I don’t we should be helping out private interests,” Cruz said. “The problem with the Keystone Pipeline isn’t the issue of Eminent Domain, the problem is the Obama administration with the stroke of a pen shut that project down.”
“What the f–k?” Stewart said before mocking Cruz’s logic.
“‘Yes, the problem isn’t the project I want undermining a constitutional principle I supposedly support, it’s the president using his constitutional right to veto,” Stewart joked. “The problem is the constitution.'”