Category Archives: Property Values

Proximity to Compressor Station Devalues Homes by as Much as 50%

In a rural area in New York State, property values around a compressor station decreased radically. We can draw obvious conclusions about property values around Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline compressor stations. A 2015 press release from Stop the NY Pipeline announces that New York State assessors de-valued homes near a compressor station by 25-50%:

Homeowners living near the Millennium Pipeline Company’s 15,000 horsepower compressor station on Hungry Hill Road in Hancock, New York have seen the value of their homes decline by as much as 50 percent since the industrial facility was constructed in the midst of what used to be a quiet, rural community.

In May 2014 several Hungry Hill residents sought real estate tax relief citing the adverse impact of the compressor station on their property values. The Town of Hancock, denied the tax grievances, but Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy subsequently offered to fund homeowner appeals. On August 25, 2014, small claims hearings were held in the Hancock Town Hall. Two homeowners, a certified Real Estate Appraiser, and a representative of Catskill Citizens testified that the compressor station was responsible for heavy truck traffic, noxious odors, persistent low-level vibrations, and air contamination. The witnesses also asserted that the facility presented a safety threat and recounted how a Millennium employee suddenly knocked on the door of a house late one evening and urged the family to quickly evacuate their home. Finally, it was alleged that blasting during the construction of the compressor station had cracked the foundation of one house, which in turn led to an unsafe spike of radon levels. (Pre and post-construction radon tests conducted by Professional Home Inspection Service of Binghamton, New York showed that radon levels in the home jumped from 3 pCi/L to 6.1 pCi/L, which is above the EPA recommended action guideline of 4.0 pCiL.)

In light of the evidence proffered, the Town of Hancock tax assessors agreed to decrease the assessed valuation and real estate taxes on two homes by 25 percent. The assessed valuation and taxes on a third home, the one that had been physically damaged, were cut by 50 percent.

For further information contact: info@catskillcitizens.org

MVP Dumps on Blackberry Botanicals


Beth and Neil LaFerriere from Blackberry Botanicals in West Virginia spoke to the attendees at the second weekend of Spruce Creek Camp about their family and land’s repeated bombardment by helicopters with grass/fertilizer pellets.

Because of this unwarranted and illegal action, they will lose their farm’s organic certification for three years, severely affecting their chief source of income. Neil has posted this YouTube video version of their talk at Spruce Creek Camp.

About Pipelines: The Short Form


A summary sheet prepared by Water Is Life. Protect It.

The Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines:

-are not needed by, nor will they bring energy to, the communities whose water and safety they threaten.

-will increase the cost of natural gas to Virginia ratepayers, first because of unneeded costly new infrastructure and later because the march to the sea for export will raise domestic natural gas prices 2 to 3 times.

-represent an immoral and illegal use of eminent domain to seize private land for corporate gain and not common good.

-are a clear and documented threat to the drinking water of over 12 million people either as a result of increased sedimentation from construction or from operational leaks of gas and fracking chemicals.

will not create local permanent jobs or even temporary local construction jobs.

-will more than double the greenhouse gas emissions for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

-against all scientific advice and warning, will be built over karst terrain, a geologic structure that produces most of our region’s clear pure water, but that is subject to sudden and unpredictable sinkholes and unexpected water connections and damages.

-pose a significant and documented risk of explosion and fire in their blast zones of 2,200 feet

-have and will continue to lower the value of any land they are on.

-represent stark environmental racism (especially the placement of the proposed Buckingham Compressor Station and routing through Native American lands) and environmental classism (targeting communities struggling with poverty and job loss).

-will reject the less costly and efficient upgrade of existing lines now running at less than real capacity in order to bring their developers a guaranteed profit of 15% on new energy infrastructure (MVP & ACP together well over 10 billion and rising).

-have revealed via their rushed and incomplete permitting and review processes, a level of corruption in Virginia government and regulatory agencies that is shocking and dangerous.

Property Values Drop on Properties with Easements


Press Release from BREDL: February 20, 2018.  Contact: Sharon Ponton, 434 420-1874, ponton913@msn.com

Property Values Plunge for Some Landowners Who Signed Easements for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Highland and Nelson Counties

Lovingston, VA—A property records search conducted in Highland and Nelson Counties by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League reveals property values plunged on parcels whose owners sought relief through the reassessment hearing process. Three properties in Nelson County with signed easement agreements with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) for pipeline construction and/or roads to access the pipeline route, received reductions in property values averaging 32.5%.

“The construction of the proposed pipeline and resultant losses in property value are devastating for directly affected landowners,” stated Sharon Ponton, a Nelson resident and the Stop the Pipelines Campaign Coordinator for the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. “It is also important for every property owner to understand these reductions will affect them, too. The governing bodies of these localities will be forced to increase real estate tax rates for every property owner to offset the difference in lost values caused by the proposed ACP. Lower property values will cause higher tax rates for all,” Ponton stated.

The three Nelson property assessments, which indicated current fair market value totaling $459,000, were adjusted downward by $148,900 to a market value of $311,000. The properties were reduced by percentages as high as 39% to a low of 15%. “The assessors for Nelson only considered pipeline easements in their computations if a landowner came forward during the hearing process. Property owners with signed easement agreements who did not come forward were unknown to county assessors. Therefore, pipeline easements have not been considered for those properties,” Ponton explained.

In Highland County, while some properties with signed easements increased in value, many were devalued, from a high of 75% to a low of 2%. The average overall loss on those properties with signed easements was 8%. Interestingly, in Highland, consideration paid by the ACP to landowners was approximately $1.3 million for 172 acres. In Nelson, the ACP has paid just $1.8 million for easements covering 316 acres. The acreage figures include permanent and temporary rights-of-way, as well as extra work space and access roads.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed the concerns of affected landowners, citizens, and grassroots groups regarding lower property values along the path of the proposed ACP in its Final Environmental Impact Statement. ”Plainly, FERC was wrong. Property values are affected,” stated Ponton. “Blowing off our mountain tops and cutting millions of trees which can never be replaced while building a pipeline affects property values. We implore all landowners who have signed easement agreements with ACP and who did not seek relief during the reassessment hearing process, to present their cases before the Boards of Equalization in their specific counties. These directly affected landowners shouldn’t be abused twice–once by having their land taken by ACP and then a second time by being required to pay taxes on inflated property values,” Ponton concluded.

Nelson County Property Tax Assessments

Has the value on your recent property tax assessment gone up? Is your property on the proposed ACP route? Are you in the blast zone? Will your view be ruined if the proposed right-of-way is cleared?

Of course, we are still fighting the pipeline and, in the end, we believe justice will prevail and keep this monstrosity from being built. However, until the project is cancelled once and for all, it is hard to believe that lands impacted by the pipeline should be assessed at an increased value over the what their assessments were before the ACP was announced to be coming through.

We never thought that the ACP would increase the value of our lands, and the 2016 Key Log Study confirmed our fears. Indeed, we are convinced that just the threat of the ACP has already lessened the market value of many Nelsonian’s land. Among the potential negative impacts of the ACP that could affect your property value are things like:

  1. the risk of losing your home (or worse) to an explosion should there be a leak in the pipe,
  2. a 50′ perpetual right of way limiting your use of your land
  3. the removal of all trees along the 125’ clear-cut construction right-of-way
  4. further clear-cut areas for the hundreds of “additional temporary work spaces” that are scattered along the route
  5. additional clearing for of miles of access roads which may make it easier for trespassers to come onto your private property
  6. the damage to nearby stream ecosystems and possible disruption of groundwater sources,
  7. the noise and destruction during construction and the likely erosion problems that we anticipate will last long after the construction crews leave
  8. loss of scenic views…which can even be the case for some properties that are relatively far off the route

If you want to appeal your new property assessment, YOU MUST DO THAT BY THIS FRIDAY, December 8, 2017. To file an appeal, call the number that is on the back of your assessment notice: 800-393-5128. They will take your information and either make a determination over the phone, or give you further information about the next steps.

You have the right to appeal your property tax assessment — even if you have signed an easement with ACP — we strongly encourage you to do so.

If you have questions about whether your property is on the route, on an access road or in the blast zone, please send us an e-mail ASAP, friendsofnelson@gmail.com, with your phone number and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Wintergreen Property Owners Plan to Sue ACP


Press Release from Friends of Wintergreen, November 20, 2017:  Nearly 1,000 Wintergreen Property Owners Plan To Sue the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Contact Jonathan Ansell, 804-405-1109

Friends of Wintergreen announced today that nearly 1,000 Wintergreen property owners, a number that is growing daily, plan to individually sue the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for damages to their property if the pipeline company seizes land used by the Wintergreen community. These actions follow a rare split-decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the 600-mile, 42-inch compressed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and grant the private pipeline company the power to use eminent domain to seize private land, including 7-acres of common land at Wintergreen.

“By approving the ACP, FERC effectively guarantees a 14% profit (or over $200 million a year) to the Dominion-managed pipeline company, a return that comes at the expense of many unwilling, uncompensated or under-compensated Virginia landowners”. In the case of Wintergreen property owners, the land to be seized by the pipeline will come with no compensation to individual property owners, but significant inconvenience and damage to their property values” said Jonathan Ansell, Chairman of Friends of Wintergreen, Inc.

Most of the individual “inverse condemnation” lawsuits will be managed by the Norfolk-based eminent domain law firm, Waldo & Lyle PC. According to Brian Kunze, Partner at the firm: “Under the US Constitution and Virginia law, no private property can be damaged or taken for public use without just compensation to the owner. If a property owner does not receive compensation for the taking of land, as is the case for nearly 4,000 individual Wintergreen owners, these owners are entitled to obtain compensation under a legal procedure known as “inverse condemnation”. We intend to file these cases the day after the ACP takes Wintergreen property”.

Separately, Friends of Wintergreen and the Wintergreen Property Owners Association (WPOA) filed a legal action with FERC to halt the construction of the pipeline until a full rehearing is completed. “We believe that FERC’s approval of the pipeline was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by the substantial evidence and alternatives we and others have provided”, said Jay Roberts, Executive Director of the WPOA. “On October 13, the FERC Commission voted 2 to 1 to approve the ACP, a rare split-decision in a federal agency where 98% of votes are unanimous”, noted Ansell. The dissenting opinion was issued by a Commissioner with seven years experience on the FERC Commission; the two Commissioners who approved the ACP were each on the job for about 60 days.

Friends of Wintergreen, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to protecting and enhancing the value, beauty, integrity, and sustainability of the Wintergreen VA area.