Wednesday, May 29, 2019

An "Eminent Domain" Case? -- May 29, 2019 -- A Reader Helps Me Understand

This seems to be an important precedent, but I really don't know.

From Platts:
Landowners' arguments that pipeline companies improperly gain quick access to properties well ahead of compensating owners will not get a hearing before the US Supreme Court.
The high court on Tuesday declined to take up a case brought by landowners whose properties were condemned to allow for construction of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line's 1.7 Bcf/d Atlantic Sunrise Project.
At issue is one of a series of cases that challenged implementation of eminent domain powers under the Natural Gas Act and which, if successful, could have affected pipeline projects' ability to meet in-service schedules. Federal appeals court rulings thus far generally have favored current practices, but another appeal arising from the Mountain Valley Pipeline project is expected.
Update: since I really don't know anything about these kinds of things, a reader responded -
The case that the Supreme Court declined to review (thus giving the nod to the pipeline company) was pretty much a nothingburger.

Essentially, a handful of anti-hydrocarbon zealots who were also property owners where the pipeline would traverse, refused all offers of compensation for Right Of Way.

After the FERC certificate is granted, it is a done deal that the ROW will be granted to the pipeline.
These holdouts wanted to string along compensation negotiators  as merely a stalling tactic.

A lower court allowed construction to take place without payment terms being in place. (Pipeline - Atlantic Sunrise - has been in operation several months now).

A court will weigh in with a fair market payments shortly, if not already determined, in fact.
I really didn't know if it was important or not. I guess my biggest concern was the Supreme Court (with a couple of unpredictable legal minds -- and I use the phrase loosely) may have decided it was time to let these folks have their "day in court."

This sounds very similar to pooling when it comes to drilling a well, when 99% of mineral owners agree to lease terms but there are two or three holdouts.

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