Harold Pullins often reminisces about the decades he’s owned his 27 acres a few miles north of Huntsville — hunting with his son, spending holidays there with his family and watching cows and horses graze in his near five acre pasture.
Until last year, Pullins, 81, was able to rest on his land at Louis Voan Road with his wife as he raised livestock. However, now his property has been “a mess for over a year, with no end in sight,” due to a 30-inch pipeline running down the middle of his pasture.
“That’s 50 feet right through the middle of my property that’s good for nothing now,” Pullins said, surveying the stretch of land that now resembles a long sandy road. “I couldn’t plant anything with this mess out here, to where I had to go spend hundreds of dollars on hay.”
According to Pullins, in January 2018, an oil and gas company representative approached him after Targa Resources Corp. announced plans to build the Grand Prix pipeline. The pipeline is used to transport natural gas liquids from the Permian Basin to a storage complex in Mont Belvieu. The capacity of the pipeline is approximately 300 thousand barrels per day, and is expandable to 550 thousand barrels per day.
Pullins said that in March, he received a letter from the oil and gas company stating that they had “determined it is in the public interest and necessary to acquire certain permanent and temporary access easement rights” to build the pipeline. The letter included a “final written offer” of $11,682 and vaguely threatened court proceedings if the offer was not accepted.
The low offer initiated furiation from Pullins and his family, with he and his wife strongly feeling that they were offered such a low sum due to their age.
“They just figured, hey they are senior citizens and won’t fight back,” Pullins said of the offer. “They just figured that we would jump at $11,000, but it takes a whole lot more zeros than that.”
Through eminent domain, the company was able to secure a 50-foot right-of-way and a 60-foot work zone through Pullins’ pasture. He stated that the pasture was full of limestone a few feet below the surface, which has caused the area around the pipeline to become extremely dangerous for the small amount of livestock he has left.
“I had to sell off most of my cows after they started getting stuck in the area around the pipeline,” Pullins said. “The gas company was supposed to put up a fence around the line, but there is no fence to be seen.
“Heavy machinery was operated with a disregard for the property. They tore down several deer stands, cut down several old pine trees and sold the timber and ripped up yards of fence line.”
A large water tank was also pumped on the property to make way for a roadway with large railroad ties.
“They widened out the tank without my permission, and then when it rained, the workers began pumping water of the easements all over the property. They did whatever they wanted to do.”
After the roadway was constructed, Pullins stated that heavy machinery would constantly travel the roadway, causing clouds of dust to billow across his property and even into his home.
“They’ve wrecked my property … it’s been over a year now and I don’t think they will do anything to fix it,” Pullins added. “While property values are skyrocketing across the region, this property is tanking in value and it’s all because of that pipeline.”
Jennifer Dorsett with Texas Farm Bureau contributed to this report.