Rice farmers trying to stop pipeline project hit by TRO

David Yates Jun. 18, 2008, 1:46pm

Denbury Resources Inc. Green Pipeline Project, as pictured on the Denbury Web site.

Armed with the power of eminent domain and now a temporary restraining order, Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas is seeking a permanent injunction to stop Texas Rice Land Partners from further delaying the construction of a pipeline designed to run through the farmers' land.

Shortly after being informed that the police would be called if the pipeline company's surveyors came anywhere near a rice patty, Denbury Green filed its petition for a TRO and permanent injunction against TRLP and Mike Latta in the Jefferson County District Court on June 17.

That same day, Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, approved the TRO. A hearing for a temporary injunction has been set for June 30.

Denbury Green has planned a 314 mile, 24-inch pipeline starting near the Texas-Louisiana border and ending at the Hastings Field located in Brazoria and Galveston counties. The pipeline will transport carbon dioxide (CO2), which will be injected into oil reservoirs to recover additional crude oil.

Denbury Green has determined that it is in "the best interest of the public to perform preliminary surveys across land located along the route of the proposed pipeline," according to the suit.

"To date, the Plaintiff' s survey team is in the process of surveying across all the tracts of lands along the route of the proposed pipeline," the suit says. "Defendants, its agents and attorney have continuously refused to allow Plaintiff's survey crew to enter upon the land in which Defendant Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd. owns.

"Specifically, when Defendant Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd. was contacted for permission to enter its property, Plaintiff was told by Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd. to contact its attorney, Mr. Anthony G. Brocato for all further dealings concerning Plaintiff s pipeline. Upon contacting Mr. Brocato on numerous occasions, Plaintiff was refused survey access for approximately two months.

"Upon information and belief, Mr. Mike Latta is a tenant on the Property owned by Texas Rice Land Partners Ltd. On June 12, Plaintiff's agent Dan Roberts contacted Mr. Latta to obtain permission to conduct an on the ground survey, but was denied and told that "Brocato … specifically instructed him (Mr. Latta) to call the police if anyone tried to enter onto the Property for surveying, appraisal or otherwise.

"Notwithstanding the fact that Plaintiff is responsible for any damage occasioned by such surveying activities, Defendants continues to refuse to allow Plaintiffs survey team to enter upon Defendants' property."

In addition to the injunctions, Denbury Green is suing for actual damages, interest and court costs.

The company is represented by Thomas Buchanan of the Flowers Davis law firm.

Case No. E181-923

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