Eminent Domain & Taking Issues

Dominion Resources Sending "Final" Requests for Permission to Survey Land for 550-Mile Pipeline

We’ve blogged in the past about the efforts of Dominion Resources, Inc. to construct a natural gas pipeline from West Virginia, through Virginia, leading to southern North Carolina.  We’ve also blogged about the anticipated steps that would occur in those efforts, including attempts to survey properties included within the 550-mile pipeline’s anticipated path.

Well, it appears that a number of property owners are refusing, or at least refusing consent as to, Dominion Resources, Inc.’s request for permission to come upon land and conduct surveys of those properties.  As a result, according to Raleigh’s News and Observer, Dominion Resources, Inc. announced it sent letters to 226 land owners, including North Carolina and Virginia landowners, to give those owners one last clear chance to “cooperate” in survey efforts.  The letters are signed by Dominion Resources, Inc.’s lawyers.  Refusal beyond this point, according to reports, will cause Dominion Resources, Inc. to seek “court orders to gain entry onto the properties to conduct survey work.”

It’s also worth noting that, according to Dominion Resources, Inc., the vast majority of landowners — reported as “70 percent of landowners along the route” — from whom survey permission has been sought have not tried to prevent Dominion from surveying land.

What will refusing consent accomplish, from the standpoint of the landowner?  Not much.  But that’s what makes this interesting.  It brings to light the degree of work involved in projects of this size and this scale, whether on the side of those looking to permit, locate, construct and employ the pipeline to those looking to stop it at each stage.  

This is already a big fight, and will continue that way.  We know Dominion Resources, Inc. and its partners anticipate as much; do the landowners?

“A little to the left.  A little more.  Ok, there.  Whose house is that?”
Mike Thelen practices in Womble, Carlyle’s Real Estate Litigation and Land Use practice group. He regularly represents a wide variety of clients, from local governments to businesses, in land use and land development matters in both state and federal venues throughout North Carolina.

Follow the North Carolina Land Use Litigator on Twitter at @nclanduselaw and “like” us on Facebook here.

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