I think what you've heard is totally bogus. I know people who have leased their land to utility companies for wind farms and none of them have lost their water rights or their farming/grazing rights. As long as the utility companies have access in and out of the areas and the underground lines in place are not disturbed by the land usage everything is cool. I don't see why it would be any different under T Boone's plan.
Suppose it turns out to be true. Suppose Pickens is the largest private owner of water rights in the US. Suppose he is buying right-of-ways along a planned 300+ mile route to Dallas for an 8' diameter pipeline that will allow him to divert the largest water aquifer in the country.
And suppose he, his wife, some friends, and employees all got together and created a public utility district in Roberts County, Tx so that he could use the law of Eminent Domain to seize property from the landowners along the route that didn't want to give him right away.
Now supposing all of this is true, would you still support Pickens Plan?
You should be concerned about water implications, but it's not that the people along the route will lose their water rights. The water rights issue comes in to play with the Ogallala Aquifer.
It's the largest Water Aquifer in the country (from the panhandle of Texas all the way to Nebraska) and it supplies nearly 100% of the water for millions of families, as well as 20% of all the wheat, corn, oats, cotton, and cattle produced in the US. Wells drilled into the Ogallala Aquifer have provided Residents and farmers water for years.
His company, Mesa Water LLC, is the largest owner of water rights in the US, and it sits at the very bottom of the Ogallala Aquifer.
Imagine a big swimming pool full of water. If you divide the swimming pool into individual properties, the person that ends up at the very deepest end of the pool controls the water supply of everyone else.
In this case it's Pickens that controls the deep end of the swimming pool and his plans are to drill a 8' diameter h*** in it to pipe the water 300 miles away to supply another swimming pool.
It's not just me saying this. Here's a small sample of articles from the most widely accepted news sources.
The Real Pickens Plan: Steal water from the Ogallala Aquifer and seize land to run his pipeline to deliver the water and wind generated power to eager customers to Dallas and beyond. And use the horrid practice of eminent domain to do it. Pickens is a crook with crooked friends in high places. Here's the link read it for yourself: http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/columns/TimothyCarney/T_Boone_Pic...
This was brought up in another discussion on this site, but when I looked into it I found this:
Back in the late '90's, Mr. Pickens began buying up land and water rights in the panhandle of Texas with plans to build a pipeline to Dallas to supply water. He was opposed by several groups, some of whom wanted to create a government entity to build that same pipeline and run that same water to Dallas.
The Pickens Plan is a plan to build a wind farm to capture wind and make electricity, the idea being to replace the use of natural gas energy generation with wind generation, then use the natural gas to run vehicles on the road.
As it happens, the transmission lines for the wind farm will run across the same land that the water pipeline would have, and will if it is built. The thought of Mr. Pickens spending over $10 billion to build a wind farm and transmission lines just to get his pipeline built is a bit much.
Some backlash from people has been that Mr. Pickens will make a lot of money from his natural gas wells (of course, he's making this already and it doesn't matter whether he makes it if it's being used as a fuel for vehicles or for electricity generation); that he has bought up water rights to build his wind farm; that he will make money from natural gas wells; finally, that he funded the swift boat ads against Kerry in the last election.
Lavelle is spot on. It's unbelievable how many people are drinking the T. Boone kool aid. Karla, you're way off base in saying that people are not angry at T. Boone. The landowners in the region of the panhandle he operates in are very displeased with the way they have been dealt with by Mesa. While he may claim to have the best interests of the country at heart, he's certainly doing it in a way to maximize his own profit.