Some claim the company is using strong-arm tactics to use their properties for the project, according to news reports. Enbridge, out of Alberta, Canada, plans to build two pipelines from Illinois to Texas and says it is simply responding to the U.S. demand for oil.
"We're responding to the market," Enbridge project spokesman Joe Martucci told the Times.
An Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Mich., in July 2010, spilling more than a million gallons of tar sands oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River.
Debora Hense, who has property in Livingston County, Mich., told the Free Press she ran some workers off the land Wednesday by calling 911. When she returned home from a trip, she found about 50 trees were being cleared although negotiations about land use had stalled, Hense told the news organization.
Hense said Enbridge sent her lawyer a check for $810 after she refused their final offer of $18,000 for the property, the Free Press reports.
"I feel violated," she told the news organization.
Holly, Mich., resident Ernest Hamilton told the Times he has a date in court to determine whether Enbridge has eminent domain and can take his property for its project.
Hamilton turned down the company's offer of $7,000 to tear up his yard, remove all his trees and conduct work that would ruin his septic system, the Times reported.
"I just paid it off last year - paid on it for 30 years," Hamilton, 69, told the news organization.
A similar project proposed by Transcanada to build an 830,000-barrel-per-day pipeline extension from Canada to the Texas coast met with national opposition from landowners, politicians and environmentalists, and part of the project has been put on hold by the State Department.
The Enbridge project, which includes an even bigger daily collection of 850,000 barrels per day from Oklahoma to the Texas coast, has escaped the same criticism and delay that Transcanada has seen because its project does not cross the Canadian border, the Times reports. This means the State Department does not have to approve, according to the Times.
In Okemos, Mich., lawyer Gary Field is building a case against Enbridge, saying the company does not have the right to rely on eminent domain to take private landowners' property.
"They're not a public utility; they're not a public property," Field told the Times.
Enbridge avoided a request by Save the Dunes, an environmental group in Indiana, to hold a state-level meeting about Enbridge's plans for pipeline work in three Indiana counties, the group told the Times.
"Up to this point, we believe that the public has not been adequately informed of the project," Nathan Pavlovic, a land and advocacy specialist with Save the Dunes, told the news organization in an e-mail.
Enbridge told the Times that it held an open house for residents and offered to meet privately with Save the Dunes.
"We work with the landowners one on one, and we did offer to meet with them, but they turned us down for whatever reason," project spokesman Martucci told the Times.