Nearby States Facing Similar Pipeline Controversy
Pipeline companies who want to build their lines through several Appalachian states have told some landowners they can survey on their land without the landowners' permission.
It was less than a year ago that a natural gas liquids pipeline project in Kentucky was stopped by widespread public opposition. Similar battles are brewing now in West Virginia and Virginia, where pipeline companies have told some landowners they can survey on their land without the landowners' permission. But some legal experts like Joe Lovett say they don’t have that right. He says a company can only claim eminent domain, and the right to survey without permission, when it proves its project serves a real public need. “The power of eminent domain is an extraordinary power only granted for public purposes and it’s improper for a company just to assert that its project is for public use without actually having had that determined.”
In West Virginia and Virginia, Dominion Corporation has sent letters to landowners warning the company might sue them if denied permission to survey the route of its huge Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Lovett and other lawyers say that is bullying. “My best advice is, don’t sign anything without a lawyer. No one should sell their land or go through the eminent domain process, I think, unless they’re represented and there are plenty of good lawyers around to help represent them”
Before it was halted, the Bluegrass Pipeline was going to require 180 miles of new line to help transport natural gas liquids from the Northeast to the Gulf Coast.
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