FARMERSVILLE — The 500-mile pipeline that crosses Freddy Davenport’s land was designed 37 years ago to siphon crude from the Gulf Coast and transport it to Oklahoma. Since May 2012, it has been moving oil the other way around.
Now, the Seaway pipeline owners are working on a twin structure that will more than double the system’s capacity to 850,000 barrels per day by next year. That surpasses the volume of the southern leg of the contentious Keystone pipeline designed to ship tar-sands oil from Canada to Texas.
Davenport, 81, isn’t backing down.
His case is one of 20 condemnation suits that Seaway’s operator has launched in Collin County to secure easements for the new pipeline.
Fifteen cases have been resolved, most of them settled out of court.
In North Texas, the Seaway pipeline cuts through rural areas, avoiding major scrutiny. Though the state’s loose rules often favor pipeline operators, landowners can seek some relief in court.
But those willing to draw out a legal battle, like Freddy Davenport and his son, belong to a small club.
“You have your rights, but who can afford these rights?” said Dale Davenport, who is fighting Seaway with his father. “How many people could afford to take on a big pipeline company?”