The October 27, 2017, Roanoke Times reported that the Mountain Valley Pipeline has sued landowners to gain pipeline easements through eminent domain. ““Mountain Valley Pipeline filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in Roanoke against hundreds of landowners in Virginia to initiate acquiring easements for the project across private properties through eminent domain. Both Maureen Brady, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, and Chuck Lollar, a Norfolk-based lawyer who specializes in eminent domain, said filing suit against multiple landowners and properties at once is standard procedure for similar projects. Lollar said one reason to file condemnation proceedings against hundreds of landowners at once ‘is to seek one court order granting entry to begin construction, applicable to all property owners who have refused to sign easements, since they would be the remaining obstacle to commencement of construction of the pipeline.’ … The condemnation action targets properties where Mountain Valley has failed to negotiate with landowners an acceptable price for an easement. Many property owners opposed to the pipeline have refused even to enter such negotiations.”
Bold Alliance issued the following press release on October 27, 2017. (Contact Carolyn Reilly, Bold Alliance, 540-488-4358, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Virginia Landowners Sued in Federal Court by Companies Seeking Eminent Domain Authority for Mountain Valley Fracked Gas Pipeline: Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC sues landowners seeking eminent domain authority to take their private property for a for-profit fracked gas pipeline.
Rocky Mount, VA — Over 300 Virginia landowners have been sued in federal court by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, which is seeking to use eminent domain authority to take land against property owners’ wishes for its proposed fracked gas pipeline that threatens Virginia’s waterways.
The eminent domain condemnation claims against landowners come in the wake of the lawsuit filed against FERC and Mountain Valley Pipeline by Bold Alliance and more than 50 landowners that challenges the use of eminent domain for private gain by Mountain Valley Pipeline — as well as the proposed Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipeline.
Carolyn Reilly, an organizer with Bold Alliance whose family’s Four Corners Farm in Rocky Mount is on the proposed MVP route, was among those who were served by Mountain Valley Pipeline and now face court hearings and seizure of their land through eminent domain:
“This latest strong-arm tactic of MVP, filing a lawsuit against individual property owners, abuses our rights as citizens of the United States. My family, along with more than 300 Virginia landowners, have stood strong and resisted the greed of a private corporation’s attempts to intimidate and bully us,” said Carolyn Reilly, landowner on the proposed MVP route and organizer with Bold Alliance. “We look forward to the court hearings as they will further prove the negligence, irresponsibility and greed of a for-profit corporation seeking eminent domain for private gain. I, and many other landowners, stand firm in our commitment to preserve and protect the water and defend the land for future generations. It is time for us as citizens to stop corporate greed from attempting to control our lives.”
While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently voted 2-1 to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project, the company still requires a 401 Clean Water Act permit from the Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality, and landowners and opponents of the proposed fracked gas pipeline continue to urge Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Northam and DEQ Director David Paylor to reject these projects, which are abusing eminent domain for private gain, and threatening our land and water.
States are empowered to reject these pipeline applications utilizing the clean water act. Governor Cuomo has done so in New York, and Governors McAuliffe, Cooper and Justice can do so in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, too.