GATESVILLE — County officials and private landowners are raising concerns about the impact of the BridgeTex Pipeline — a 20-inch-diameter, 400-mile-long crude-oil pipeline from Colorado City to Houston — that will cut across Coryell and Bell counties.

Construction of the pipeline, a joint venture of Magellan Midstream Partners and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, is set to start this fall with oil flowing through the pipe by next year at 278,000 barrels per day.

About 37 miles of pipeline will cross Coryell County, one of 20 Texas counties along the route, according to Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine.

The below-ground pipeline will cross under 15 Coryell County roads as well as State Highways 36, 236 and 1996, Farm-to-Market 215 and U.S. Highway 84

The pipeline will cross under the Leon River and Coryell Creek.

Although the pipeline will go under roadways, Commissioner Don Jones questioned whether the county would be compensated for road damage resulting from heavy construction traffic.

County Judge John Firth said the county may apply for some of the $225 million in state funds set aside to fix county roads damaged by oil and gas activities.

“We can’t stop this from happening; the state has already approved it,” Firth said. “We just need to protect ourselves.”

Landowners unhappy with the pipeline crossing their property also have few options to stop the project.

As a common carrier, Magellan has the right of eminent domain and can condemn property for easements if landowners do not agree to a settlement.

Some Coryell landowners have come to terms, but others, such as Roy Hill, are still negotiating.

“I do not look forward to the construction of a pipeline on my ranch,” Hill said. “It will be very disruptive.”

Hill and his wife, Laura, own Creekside Ranch, nearly 500 acres of farm and ranch land in the path of a 6,500-foot stretch of the pipeline.

The Hills are still negotiating the terms of a 50-foot operational easement, a 45-foot temporary easement and additional 10-foot easements on either side of Coryell Creek where the company will drill under the creek bed.

Hill also is negotiating terms for construction damage — trees cut down, roads torn up — as well as “damage to the remainder” of his property’s resale value resulting from the presence of a 20-inch crude oil pipeline.

If a landowner does not settle and the pipeline company goes to court to condemn the property, the judge can appoint a commission of three landowners to resolve the property valuation in a hearing.

The company can start construction before the hearing is complete, Hill said, because the commissioners are only deciding the value of the easement.

“It is not a question of whether (the company) can lay the pipeline,” he said, “just a question of how much they will have to pay.”

Contact Tim Orwig at

(5) comments


The country was founded on the principle that the individual had full control over their property. Now we no longer have control because the big corporations have bought all the rights and freedoms for themselves.

They don't care about the landowner nor the people. They will get what they want and if the pipe has a leak, like many in the past have, then the poisons we have to live with is our problems and we shouldn't whine about them because the contracts clearly state that the company holds no liabilities for injury or death because of their actions.

In other words, you lost your freedom to everything just so a single rich guy can make more money. You are no longer guaranteed a life free from pollution. You die? Better you than the guy who owned the pipeline and lives in another country so he can evade paying taxes, unlike you. But of course, all the death and destruction is for your benefit to pay the company more and be more enslaved to their whims and follies.

There are no benefits in pipelines. They take jobs away and are more dangerous than trucks because they are completely unregulated and unmanned. and they do not save money because the company does not reduce the price when they switch from trucking to pipeline. They work the hardest to find ways to keep the prices high as much as possible. They completely manipulate the system and no one says anything about it.

Pipelines can be hidden away and any information about leaks and poisonous effects can easily be suppressed as it already has been. You just don't know it has been. See how effective they have been?


Hill is negotiating for more money for him self and not caring about the benefit it give us. This happened years ago when people wanted to put electric lines across property. The longer you hold out the more money you get.


Of course he is negotiating for more money for himself. It's HIS property. There is no benefit to "us" as these are oil know the guys that gouge you at the gas pump?!


Barbie, you say that like it's a bad thing. I'm very fortunate that no hugely profitable company has ever taken land or privacy from me or my family, but if it came to that I would certainly negotiate for the best deal I could get to compensate for my loss.

Electric lines across our properties actually do benefit us: they bring the electricity directly to our houses. A crude oil pipeline across your property does NOT pump gas directly into your car; it's just using what you own as part of the transportation process for a wealthy company. Without you having a say in the matter.


"... that will cut across Coryell and Bell counties."

The story goes on to list roads in Coryell County that will be crossed, but doesn't say where it'll be in Bell County. Is there any information about that?

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