Pipe for the Trans-Pecos Pipeline before completion. (Travis Bubenik / Marfa Public Radio)
It’s been about a year and half since the completion of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. Still, advocates are calling for legislative reform to eminent domain — the process by which private land was acquired for the pipeline.
Documentary filmmaker Nicol Ragland has been following this story for the past three years in Transpecos: The Story of Stolen Land and the Loss of America’s Last Frontier. The crew documented the beginning, middle, and end of the pipeline process.
“[We] essentially witnessed the Trans-Pecos pipeline being what’s best described [as] the camel’s nose in the tent of incoming industry in the area,” Ragland says.
According to Ragland, the effort to change eminent domain laws has been a bi-partisan effort. “It really is an issue not necessarily anti-oil and gas or pro-oil and gas, but rather, fairness in protection and property rights.”
Ragland has worked closely with pipeline critics and environmentalist organization Big Bend Conservation Alliance. At 5 pm on Saturday, August 25, the BBCA, along with the filmmakers, will host an eminent domain town hall at the Crowley Theater.
“If we can get landowners educated on the situation of the law, and the importance of reform, we can hopefully amplify–amplify their voice,” Ragland says. “[N]ot only to get them to the next legislative session to testify if possible, but in our situation, at least try and document their stories….”
The filmmakers expect the documentary will be completed in the fall.