Family Tomato Farm Fighting Oil Pipeline In Tabor

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TABOR, Texas A family of farmers is fighting plans for an oil pipeline coming through their tomato farm in the Brazos County community of Tabor.

News 3 investigated how both sides are trying to reach an agreement for the pipeline already being built in the Brazos Valley.

"There's no occupation closer to God than farming; because it's all in His hands," said Patrick Gendron as he walked through his family's greenhouse of tomato plants.

Gendron Homegrown Tomatoes has been a family-owned business for 30 years.

But a new crude oil pipeline already being built across the street on Zweifel Road is causing John Gendron to feel pushed around.

"A little respect you know what I mean? Don't tell me we do what we want to do and you can't do nothing about it?!" said John Gendron.

BridgeTex Pipeline Company has filed suit to seize a section of his family's land through eminent domain to continue the 20 inch pipeline being buried from Colorado City to the Gulf Coast.

While the pipeline will only impact about a 1/4 acre of the Gendron's farm they say it's at the most crucial piece of their property saying these trees and the ground act as a natural barrier from the wind and it also helps manage runoff from rains.

His son Patrick Gendron is an attorney in Bryan and is fighting to come to an agreement with BridgeTex Pipeline Company to preserve what his family has done on two continents.

"Farming's in my blood back to the Roman Empire when Sicily was the breadbasket of Rome," said Patrick Gendron.

Tuesday morning the Gendrons were unable to attend a meeting between attorneys in Bryan who did not allow News 3 in the room.

County Court At Law Judge Jim Locke told us by phone he recently appointed three people to a commission to decide the value of the agreement.

If an agreement isn't reached, Locke says the process could continue in civil court before a jury.

Patrick Gendron is hoping the pipeline won't keep him from handing down the farm to his little girl.

"Until you are in the path of a pipeline company you just don't realize what power, what power big business combined with the backing of laws that they have to take your property," he said.

The commission is meeting Tuesday, April 1st to discuss the case again.