Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm FERCed

On September 25th, I learned that a Palomar proposed route for a 36-inch natural gas pipeline would transect my 60-acre farm. It is hard to convey how upsetting this is in a way that will make others feel equally disturbed. I know this because, I will confess, when I thought the pipeline would travel two-miles to the west, I was not as upset. “Not in my back yard? No problem then.”

What makes it so visceral that I am not eating or sleeping well?

Part of it is the piercing of the illusion that your property is inviolate. I was intellectually aware of this as a former planning commissioner in two states and one who is aware of the Fifth Amendment’s “just compensation” clause. But I will assert and confirm that nothing prepares one for the emotional impact of being stepped on by Godzilla.

Part of it is fear of the unknown. Will the pipeline leave a visible and ugly scar on the landscape spoiling the view? Will I feel the same sense of peace and tranquility that originally led me to this bucolic setting? The same sense of privacy when a corporation has license to traverse my land at any time? Will my property, part of my retirement plan, be reduced in value beyond the formulaic compensation of eminent domain?

Part of it is intensely personal. It is the height of irony that after spending 4-years of building a low-impact house (, cleaning up and restoring a neglected farm to productivity, and doing everything possible to reduce my use of fossil fuels to the bare minimum, I find I am to become part of an IV-drip to a hydrocarbon addicted California (the place I tried to escape from).

Part of it is intensely personal 2. I am in the early stages of Parkinson’s. I may have only 5 to 10 years before I will be forced to leave the farm I love. I had planned to spend them in peaceable enjoyment of my home and property. Now it seems, even as my ability to do so wanes, I will be spending time researching LNG, attending meetings, possibly suffering a couple of summers of a massive construction project, and living in a general state of anxiety.

So call me a NIMBY, but do it with some sympathy and some respect. The bullet I take might just as well have been aimed at you.