Friends of Nelson Letters to Landowners (2014-2015)

This page includes an archive of letters, bulletins, and other communications from Friends of Nelson to landowners on the several proposed routes of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Their intent was to keep people informed and to offer suggestions for responses and possible landowner actions, as well as to keep everyone informed about what was happening.  Most recent entries, all from 2015, are at the top of the page, earliest (July 2014) are at the bottom.


Dominion has admitted that they made a “clerical error” in their letters to landowners on the new alternate routes, stating that surveying would begin on March 2, 2015. Since they are required by law to notify landowners at least 15 days prior to their intended date of entry, the March 2, 2015 date was illegal. Dominion says they will be sending new notices to affected landowners with a new date. (For February 27, 2015 news coverage of the error, to which Dominion admitted only after objections from Friends of Nelson and other pipeline opponents, click here.)

The important message: You still have time to deny permission to survey – send your certified, return receipt letter as soon as possible. You don’t have to send another denial when you receive their new letter as long as your denial of permission for entry was unequivocal regarding denying entry to all parties at any time for any reason.

Confusion about return addresses:  The first letter to people on the new proposed routes, dated February 23, 2015, had the incorrect start date for surveying (a “clerical error,” says Dominion) of March 2, 2015. The second and corrected letter, dated March 6, 2015, says they will begin surveying on or around March 26, 2015. The address for responses to the February 23, 2015 letter was Ramona Kanouff – Manager – Land, Lease and Right of Way, c/o Doyle Land, 99 Edmiston Way, Suite 112, Buckhannon, WV. The address for responses to the March 6, 2015 letter is Ramona Kanouff – Manager – Land, Lease and Right of Way, Dominion Transmission, Inc., P.O. Box 2450, Clarksburg WV.

If you responded to the first letter (dated February 23, 2015) and sent your denial of permission to survey to Ms. Kanouff c/o Doyle Land in Buckhannon WV, Friends of Nelson strongly recommends that you also respond to the second letter (dated March 6, 2015) by sending a second denial of permission to survey to Ms. Kanouff at the Dominion address in Clarksburg WV.

If you did not respond to the February 23, 2015 letter, you should immediately respond to the March 6, 2015 letter by sending your denial of permission to Ms. Kanouff at the Dominion address in Clarksburg WV.


 

Several people have asked for a sample denial letter, so one is provided below (or you can click here to download a Word version ).  Please be sure to substitute the date, your parcel numbers, and your contact information in the appropriate places (in bold in the sample letter).

The Date, 2015
To Whom It May Concern
Dominion ACP
c/o Doyle Land
99 Edmiston Way, Suite 112
Buckhannon, WV 26201

Dear Sir or Madam:

We want to clearly and unequivocally state that NEITHER you NOR any of your representatives or associated companies have permission to enter our land for any reason at any time. If you or anyone enters our property, it will be considered an illegal act of trespassing and the incident will be reported to the appropriate authorities. We will pursue charges and penalties against you to the fullest extent of the law. Our property is generously marked with NO TRESPASSING and other warning signs so there can be no mistaking our intent.

Our property includes parcel numbers XXXXXX and XXXXXX.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. Should you, for any reason, not understand this letter, you may contact me at your phone or your full address.

Sincerely,

Your Name


February 26, 2015:  Did you just receive a “request” from Dominion to allow them to survey?  Please see this letter Friends of Nelson prepared to answer the most important questions that new landowners may have.    Send back your certified letter denying permission to survey!  And, since they say they will start surveying on Monday March 2nd, you should also call their toll-free number immediately to verbally deny permission.  That number is 888-895-8716.  If you get an answering service, leave your name, phone number, and state that you are denying permission to survey; a representative will call you back.

Additional steps you should take:

  • Put  up “NO TRESPASSING’ signs
  • If anyone comes to your property, ask them to leave.  If they don’t leave, call the Sheriff (434-263-7050) and report a trespassing incident.

Remember – you CAN deny permission, and this IS an effective tactic to stop the pipeline in Nelson County.  We need to act as a community to deny them access to large portions of the route.


Letter to [New] Landowners:  February 23, 2014

Dear New Landowners,

I am sorry to welcome you to this club, but glad you have found your way to this page. You may be feeling overwhelmed, and trying to get up to speed on what you need to know and do to prevent the pipeline on your property. The good news is that there is only one thing you need to do immediately – send a certified, return receipt letter to Dominion at the address on your survey letter refusing permission to survey your property or access it in anyway.

We also encourage you to spend time reading the many articles on this webpage to find out what has been happening and how we have been resisting. You may be particularly interested in the Surveying, Access, and Eminent Domain section.

Please add your name to our email list by sending email to friendsofnelson@gmail.com. We have successfully resisted Dominion up to this point by working together and communicating with each other. We need to be able to get in touch with you. We are also here to answer your questions. We are your neighbors, and there are many of us ready to help.

Checking this webpage regularly for updates and “liking” our Facebook page are also important ways to stay informed.

Thank you, and hold on. It is quite a ride.

Joanna Salidis
President, Friends of Nelson


Letter to Landowners, February 17, 2015

I’m writing – specifically to landowners at the moment – to ask if each of you could spend a couple minutes completing the extremely short survey (link below), which will help us quantify some of the most concrete safety concerns on our properties. We are collecting this information to demonstrate that these issues affect an actual number of real Nelson residents, (rather than a theoretical number!)

The survey consists of a few questions and is very simple. Thanks, in advance!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L76YBLP

It may be helpful for you to view Dominion’s latest interactive map of the route to gauge how far the proposed route is from structures on your property, or from structures on your neighbor’s property.

Click here  to access this map. Type in your address (in the box with the magnifying glass on top right) to get started. It zooms in quite close. Please let us know if you notice any changes or surprises on this map.

News about Dominion’s suits here in Nelson

We are collectively doing a fantastic job preventing Dominion from moving forward with their plans to ram the pipeline though Nelson County. To force access onto our properties to survey, Dominion is currently in the process of suing approximately 63 Nelson landowners (couples counted together). Of those 63 landowners, we know that at least 13 have not yet been served (with court documents); therefore, no legal response is necessary from them. Out of the remaining 50 people, we know that 32 have retained lawyers. Friends of Nelson support volunteers have worked hard to contact all of the sued landowners to help everyone understand their options for counsel and that no one needs money to retain a lawyer for these cases. Right now, it looks like about 4 landowners are buckling under Dominion’s pressure because they feel overwhelmed, 2 cannot be found, and we are still waiting to hear from the remaining 12 (some of whom may not have been served yet).

As several of us are also landowners on the route, we fully sympathize with the anxiety, fear and pressure these lawsuits have brought on. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions surrounding legal assistance. None of us deserves this lawsuit hassle – nor the nightmare of the pipeline.

There are several law firms that have offered pro bono representation for landowners who may have to face Dominion in the final eminent domain proceedings. These firms have agreed to represent those who sign up as eminent domain clients, in Dominion’s initial survey lawsuit, as well. The law firms would work free of charge, but would be paid once Dominion “settles” on an amount to give the landowners. The law firms would receive an agreed-upon percentage of the settlement as their payment. If eminent domain never occurs because we defeat the pipeline as we hope to, or it is moved, there would be no settlement, and you would not owe them any money.

Though there is a monetary incentive for the eminent domain lawyers – which insures they would argue for the largest possible settlement on your property – it is important to remember that there is a lot more at stake than money. These eminent domain proceedings involve signing complicated easement agreements – agreements that Dominion will certainly script to retain maximum future access to your property. We cannot stress enough the wisdom of hiring legal help to ensure that your rights are fully represented, should worst come to worst. We can also recommend lawyers who charge by the hour, instead of taking a percentage of a settlement fee. Engaging an attorney now is also an important tool to fight the pipeline, especially if Dominion sues you for access to survey.

If you have any questions regarding your options for legal representation against Dominion, whether to block surveying or to assist with negotiation in an eminent domain easement agreement, please don’t hesitate to email us at friendsofnelson@gmail.com.

As you probably recall, Friends of Nelson hired attorney Michael Derdeyn to file a response for five of the first defendants in these initial survey suits, in order to set a precedent for all the following suits. He filed a motion to dismiss these Dominion suits on January 22, in Nelson Circuit Court using two arguments – first, that the statute upon which the suit is based is unconstitutional, and second, that the suits were filed under the name “Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” an entity other than Dominion, from whom none of us has ever received any letter requesting entry.

Attorney Derdeyn’s filing was covered in the press.

While we have no way of knowing for sure, we take it as a good sign that Dominion has not yet served all the folks they have already sued, and they haven’t filed any new suits since Michael Derdeyn’s motion to dismiss response was filed.

No court cases have been set yet for Nelson, though we hear that there is a hearing set in Augusta County for March 12.

***

The case against the constitutionality of the “survey without permission statute” was heard in Federal Court on Feb. 5. We are all awaiting the verdict by the judge, who promised to issue his “written opinion” on whether to dismiss the case, as Dominion requested, or not. Regardless of the verdict, it is likely that one side or the other will appeal.

You can see national coverage of this case here.

Our resistance affects Dominion!

There is no doubt that our resistance is negatively affecting Dominion’s plans. A “fly on the wall” who attended the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee hearing on last Monday’s Stop the Surveys Lobby Day overheard some anxious whispers from several legislative aides, Dominion representatives and lobbyists.

It seems the Senators and Dominion lobbyists were shocked by our numbers and by what folks said against the “survey without permission statute.”  It is clear that our legislators and Dominion still don’t “get” the depth of our resistance, nor the tools we bring to the table.

Letters of “Intent to Enter” – again!

Finally, Dominion Transmission, Inc has begun, once again, sending “Intent to Enter” notices (round 3, or is it 4?) I myself received one. Upon careful analysis, this new “Intent to Enter” notice differs only in that it has a date – and the spelling errors have been corrected. It appears Dominion Transmission, Inc is still struggling to comply with the rules in the “survey without permission statute.”

Please keep Friends of Nelson in the loop regarding any new notices you receive from Dominion, “Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC,” or McGuire Woods, of course. You can email me directly at friendsofnelson@gmail.com or tell the FON volunteer you may be working with.

Together, we are making a difference!

Joanna Salidis
President, Friends of Nelson


 

 Is Something Special on Your Property?

gravestoneLandowners on the route!

Do you have an old cemetery on your property? Evidence of Native American Artifacts? Old houses or historic buildings?

NOW is the time to call the Virginia Department of Historic Resources!

DHR staff will come out and do a preliminary evaluation of the historic resources on your land and will enter them in the State Database.

While “Get out Free” cards in pipeline land are hard to come by, historical and cultural artifacts on the route, like wetlands, rare species, and difficult terrain, make it harder for Dominion. We want these things documented as soon as possible (just not by Dominion!)

Contact:
Tom Klatka (DHR Archaeologist)
Salem Archaeologist,Western Region Preservation Office – still the guy for our area!
(540) 387-5396
tom.klatka@dhr.virginia.gov


 

Landowners Updates:  November 26, 2014

I would like to provide this link [from the law firm Ryley Carlock & Applewhite] on Federal Eminent Domain: Condemnation Issues Under the Natural Gas Act, by John C. Lemaster, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite.

I learned more from reading this article than anything I have read so far. It is slow going but very important and will prepare you for the meeting with Waldo & Lyle on Wednesday Dec 3, 7:00 pm at the Rockfish Valley Community Center (RVCC).

There are lots of things different in the Federal Courts from the State Courts that usually deal with Eminent Domain. But because Dominion’s route is going through three states, they can use the Federal Courts. When you read, please pay special attention to:

  • V. SPECIFIC ISSUES IN CONDEMNATION ACTIONS WHERE THE NATURAL GAS ACT AND RULE 71A HAVE BEEN HELD TO PREEMPT STATE LAW
  • VI. RULE 65, FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, PROVIDES FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF FOR POSSESSION PENDING THE TRIAL ON JUST COMPENSATION
  • VIII. NO RIGHT TO JURY TRIAL EXISTS UNDER FEDERAL LAW

I know it is a lot to read. But how else will we learn how to defend ourselves? And all of us have to make our personal decision about working with an eminent domain lawyer.

Please read the article before the meeting at RVCC on Dec 3. Bring your neighbors who may not drive, and come early and meet some of the other landowners on the route. We are stronger together. This is a one time meeting.

If you have questions or concerns, call me (540-456-6746) or email me (renders@cfw.com).

Ron Enders
Friends of Nelson Landowner Liaison


 

Landowners Updates:  November 25, 2014

First – We Are Not Alone – below this update we share the latest newsletter from the Augusta County Alliance on the other side of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

And here is “A Landowner’s Know Your Rights and Options Manual Regarding Proposed Surveys and Pipeline Placement on Your Property by Natural Gas Companies or Their Agents” prepared by Citizens Preserving Floyd County.  They mention Nelson County in their manual.

Joanna sends a quote from a lawyer, Joe Lovett:  “Attorney Joe Lovett with Appalachian Mountain Advocates says pipelines can only claim eminent domain, and the right to survey without permission, when they prove their projects serve a genuine public need. He says the pipeline companies in question haven’t done that…Dominion has sent letters to West Virginia and Virginia landowners, indicating they may sue if denied permission to survey for the pipelines’ routes. Lovett and other lawyers have described that as bullying. More importantly, Lovett says, the pipeline companies’ threat to litigate might be a bluff. He says if a pipeline is coming through your land, get an attorney.”  Full text from which the quote comes is here.

And from Friends of Nelson:  There may be a relationship between the “benign” letters from Dominion two weeks ago and the “Intent to Enter” notices being received currently.  Our advice is still the same.  If you have already sent them a certified letter denying access to survey and have your little green return receipt, you are probably getting tired of their letters.  We don’t think you need to do anything.  But if you want to, call the call center telephone number in the letter and tell the operator you want someone to call you back to verify your “do not survey” request is on file with them.  When someone calls you back tell them you have your previous letter to them and Dominions return receipt next to your door along with the Sheriff’s number 434-263-7050.  Dominion said they would not enter our property without our permission until they have a court order and we have not seen a court order.

You can call the main surveyor/ROW representative for Nelson County Jeff Arrington at 304-308-1621 and tell him the same.  Or write the person who signs most of the certified letters: Mr. Russell W. Johnson, P.O. Box 2450, Clarksburg, WV 26301. Send a copy to Jamie Burton, Lease & ROW, at the same address.  Or call their landowner toll-free number 888-895-8716 or send an email to ACpipeline@dom.com .  They can’t seem to understand “no” and keep trying to pressure and harass us about the survey, so we can keep telling them “NO” multiple times in different ways until they get their records organized.

Please mark your calendar for the Wednesday December 3 meeting with the eminent domain lawyers Waldo & Lyle at the Rockfish Valley Community Center.  Picking your eminent domain lawyer is something each of you will have to do at some time in the future.  This meeting may give the you information you will need to do so.  I will be sending additional information soon.  If you have questions for the eminent domain lawyers please let me know and I will add them to the list.  Here is their web address: http://www.waldoandlyle.com

See immediately below for the latest news from Augusta County and you can understand how we are not alone.


 

Augusta County Alliance Letter to Augusta Landowners, November 24, 2014

Dear Augusta County Landowner,

Last week Dominion’s lawyers sent a final notice to everyone who has denied Dominion permission to survey their land. You may have already received this certified letter. If so, you are aware that it is an ultimatum ordering landowners to grant permission within ten days or be taken to court.

The Augusta County Alliance and I are strongly advising landowners NOT to grant permission for surveying. While each landowner must ultimately make his own decision, there are several reasons we are advising people against granting permission:

1.You gain nothing by granting permission to Dominion: This is a scare tactic designed to intimidate landowners into submission and increase the percentage of landowners who have “granted permission” at minimal cost to Dominion. Dominion is counting on landowners granting permission out of fear, saving Dominion time, effort, and money and placing your property one step closer to condemnation through eminent domain. What’s more, granting permission allows Dominion to add you to their deceptive statistic that “75%” of landowners have granted permission (implying that 75% of landowners are on-board with the project).

2. Refusing to grant permission cannot harm you: Denying permission for Dominion to survey is each landowner’s legal right. Dominion’s threat of lawsuit is not something that can harm landowners with a penalty or anything else. If landowners are sued and lose, the most that can happen is that a judge grants Dominion the right to survey. Even if a landowner fails to appear for the hearing in court, they will not be penalized; however, Dominion will win the case.

3. This is a victory, not a defeat: Some landowners are seeing this as a defeat, but it is not. We have successfully delayed Dominion for several months and have begun to turn the tide of public opinion. Furthermore, Dominion feels a need to seek permission from a court in order to do what it says it already has the right to do. The more Dominion has to use force to get its way, the more clearly the public will begin to see the company as the bully it is. This harms both Dominion’s reputation and its pipeline’s reputation.

4. We have a great opportunity: Dominion may sue or it may be bluffing. Regardless, landowners win. If Dominion sues and wins in court, we are back to where we started (Dominion can survey and we can’t stop it), but we have delayed them for months and made them harm their own image. Better yet, if they sue and lose (which I think has a fair chance given their failure to properly notify landowners of surveying) that is a lot of egg on Dominion’s face and an even bigger victory for landowners who have now set Dominion back many more months if not indefinitely. Taking us to court is risky for Dominion – they don’t want to do it. This gives us the opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of this statute in VA courts as defendants, which is a huge advantage.

5. Immediately post your property “NO TRESPASSING!”: If your property is not properly posted, Dominion can use this in court as a technicality to avoid the consequences of trespassing for surveying. The entire perimeter of the property should be posted. At a minimum, post all property next to public highways, and the portion of your property where the pipeline will enter and exit.

We are encouraging every landowner to obtain legal counsel now – this is not costly, and you will need it if we fail to stop or re-route the pipeline. My family is using Waldo & Lyle, a nationally-known eminent domain firm that only represents landowners, out of Norfolk. They only charge if they win the case (a percentage of winnings), and they have agreed to represent all their clients in this lawsuit as part of their services for any potential eminent domain proceedings.

While we do not care whether you use Waldo & Lyle or some other competent eminent domain attorney, we highly recommend that you seek counsel now (whether you are granting or denying permission for surveying) and we want to encourage you that there is no need to fear Dominion’s latest scare tactic as VA state courts are the most likely place we can find protection for our property rights.

Let’s all hang together, or we’ll surely hang separately.

Regards,

Travis Geary
Co-Chair Augusta County Alliance
info@augustacountyalliance.org


 

Landowner Update:  November 20, 2014

1)  Landowners report receiving calls from a woman in the office of McGuireWoods

Some landowners report receiving calls from a woman in the office of McGuireWoods.

She is not the lawyer who sent the letters, and she may or may not be a lawyer herself. She might just be a person hired to call the people on the list of people they sent their threatening letter. It could also just be another step to convince you to sign.

If you choose to speak with her, be careful talking to lawyers because they may figure out some way to use what you say against you later.

We really don’t know what their plans are or what their next step will be. But they are clearly trying to make you feel threatened. They don’t know what we will do either and while we are talking about what to do, they have to take the first step and we don’t want them to know ours in advance.

We do want to know immediately if anyone gets anything from them indicating they are suing them specifically. We want to help all the landowners who are denying the access to survey.  Please call or email Friends of Nelson’s Landowner Liason, Ron Enders, 540-456-6746 , renders@cfw.com

2)  Eminent Domain Lawyers may help us protect our property rights, while we fight to stop the pipeline

We have scheduled a meeting for December 3 at 7 p.m. at Rockfish Valley Community Center with Waldo & Lyle, P.C. for everyone interested to get information and ask questions. We know they are already defending clients against the threatening letters from McGuireWoods.
Their website is: http://www.waldoandlyle.com/  They seem to be the leading firm as they specialize in only eminent domain cases.

One of their attorneys wrote this to share with you:

“As a part of my engagement, I represent landowners in proceedings that may be filed seeking a court order granting early entry for surveys or inspections pursuant to Virginia Code § 56-49.0. I do that as part of my representation of owners to recover just compensation, not for an extra or separate fee. This would be the case with all landowners impacted by this project who engage me, unless agreed otherwise.

I also will take whatever steps are reasonably necessary to insure that Dominion follows the law throughout the eminent domain process. There would be no additional charge for doing this; it is a part of what I do in my representation of owners pursuant to my written engagement agreement. Of course, my law firm is also working with groups such as the Augusta County Alliance (and hopefully Friends of Nelson) to support their overall effort to fight the pipeline and its location.”

We might want to meet with other eminent domain lawyers also.
We may also want to engage a separate lawyer IF Dominion is going to court for a court order to survey.

If you have any questions about why we recommend continuing to deny permission to survey, or why we think using eminent domain attorneys may be a good idea, please call or email Friends of Nelson’s Landowner Liason, Ron Enders, 540-456-6746 , renders@cfw.com.


Landowner Update:  New and Different Letters from Dominion Being Received by Landowners (November 14, 2014)

So far, Nelson County landowners along the changing route of Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline are sticking together in resisting Dominion’s surveyors in Nelson County!

As of Nov 13, 2014, 77% of us have reported to Friends of Nelson that we have denied Dominion access to conduct surveys on our private properties. This demonstrates how strongly we landowners agree that the proposed route of the ACP through Nelson County is inappropriate and directly threatens so much of what we value.

Dominion wants the public to think most landowners are cooperating and in favor of their ACP project. Even though Dominion states in their own letters that “allowing the route-survey does not mean you are agreeing to access for construction of the pipeline,” Dominion assumes (and reports) that over 70% of landowners (along the entire 550-mile route) agree with the project because most are apparently granting access to survey.

According to the response of 167 landowners along the most current route through Nelson, (see the map on the Dominion web site), Dominion’s numbers are NOT correct when it comes to Nelson County.

Here are the actual numbers, based on responses from landowners along the most recent proposed route:

Route segments    # Land Owners   # Denying Access   % Denying
Blue Ridge Parkway
to River Road (Rt 6)        62                           54                  87.1 %
River Road(Rt 6) to
Hwy 29                            37                           29                  78.4 %
Hwy 29 to Rt 56               42                           28                  66.7 %
Rt 56 to James River        26                          18                   69.2 %
——- ——- ———-
Total                               167                         129                  77.2 %

*Note: These numbers do NOT indicate that 23% of Nelson landowners support the project. We have not been able to speak to several landowners who live outside the county, and there are some parcels where the ownership is unclear and denial has not been made in writing. And some folks are undecided. There may be 15 to 20 owners (9 to 11%) who support the pipeline, including those in the lumbering business.

*********************************

This week, landowners are receiving one of two different certified letters. One is from Dominion Transmission, Inc and is essentially a duplicate of previous requests for permission to survey. The second is a letter from McGuireWoods, LLP—the law firm hired by Dominion—which adds a threat of “legal action” to landowners who don’t give permission to Dominion’s ACP route surveyors.

In an August 5 letter, Dominion told us all, “It is not Dominion’s plan to enter your property without your permission or a court order.” The McGuireWoods letter is Dominion’s threat to get such a “court order.” We have been expecting it.

For Dominion to get a court order, they need to ask a court to give it to them. The only way we know they can do this is to take someone to cour

If you receive ANY NOTICE that Dominion is taking you to court, it is VERY IMPORTANT to notify Friends of Nelson immediately so we can give you support.

The law upon which Dominion is basing its threat of legal action is currently under review in federal court to determine its constitutionality. The federal government has not yet determined whether this pipeline is in the public interest, so landowners are doing nothing wrong or improper by continuing to answer requests for survey with an emphatic, “NO.”

No matter the ultimate results of Dominion’s “legal action” regarding survey access, it is encouraging to remember that any and all court rulings make for wonderful negative publicity against this entire project.
Dominion still needs to get approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as investors. The more negative publicity we can create against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the better our chances that the FERC, the politicians, and the potential investors will realize how inappropriate the route across Nelson County truly is.

If you get the McGuireWoods letter, it indicates that you are probably already “on record” as having denied entry for surveying of the ACP route.
If you—or anyone you know—receives a court summons, please notify us immediately, so we can help.  You can email friendsofnelson@gmail.com, or contact Friends of Nelson’s Landowner Liaison Ron Enders by email at renders@cfw.com or by phone at 540-456-6746.

And of course, if you are among the few who have not yet denied Dominion’s request for survey, or you wish to change your mind and retract your permission, it is not too late. You can still send a letter back to Dominion by USPS. We recommend you send your denial “certified, return-receipt” (for proof that Dominion has received your denial). Then let us know so we can add your name to our statistics!

You can also call Dominion’s new head Right-of-Way/Survey agent for Nelson, Jeff Arrington, 304-308-1621, to tell him directly that you do NOT give permission to Dominion to survey your land for the ACP route.

Some background and a word of caution: It is also possible that Dominion’s records are not accurate in terms of owners of various parcels. Apparently, Dominion is using Nelson County’s GIS mapping software, which is not always up-to-date. Despite explanations of these errors, Dominion continues to send some letters to incorrect recipients (for example, to people who are NOT the owners of certain parcels).
One can understand the confusion this is creating.

The burden is on Dominion to contact the correct property owners in order to avoid a clear legal TRESPASS. The burden is on Dominion to prove their right to enter our private properties. The burden is on us to clearly communicate our denial for access to survey.

****************************

Requests from Friends of Nelson’s Landowner Liason, Ron Enders, 540-456-6746 , renders@cfw.com:

  • Please share with me your thoughts, your questions, your suggestions and your ideas on this subject.
  • Please let me know which letter(s) you received and how you responded—or if you haven’t received any at all.
  • A lot of our landowners do not have email. Would you be willing to either call some people or hand address some copies of this or other messages to send to people with only postal addresses? Sharing the tasks lightens the work-load on everyone.
  • There are public meetings coming up: Nov 16th at 7 pm at the Nelson Public Library and Sunday, Nov. 23rd at 7 pm at Rockfish Valley Community Center. Both will be a great time to share information!

 

ADVICE TO LANDOWNERS (November 9, 2014)

An Unprecedented Number of Nelson Landowners Have Refused Survey – Keep it Up!

We have learned from several landowners in Nelson that Dominion is sending out new notices asking permission to survey to landowners who have previously clearly signified in writing their opposition to surveying. Friends of Nelson believes that it continues to be extremely important to deny permission to survey to demonstrate to Dominion and FERC the level of concentrated opposition to the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Nelson County.

We believe that Dominion is sending new notices, as though they had never received our refusals, in an attempt to either change our minds, or confuse and harass us into not responding with further refusals. If a landowner fails to respond, Dominion could claim that the lack of objection signifies permission.

Please email our landowner liaison Ron Enders at renders@cfw.com to let him know if you have received another letter and how you responded, or with any questions.

We also ask that everyone spread the word to neighbors, family, and friends.

To assert and protect your right to refuse permission to survey, you can do any or all of the following:
1. Send a certified return receipt letter to Dominion Transmission Inc. if you have not previously refused permission in writing.  Address your letter to Mr. Jamie Burton, Lease and Right of Way, Dominion Transmission Inc., PO Box 2450, Clarksburg WV 26302.  (Letters addressed to the original contact, Mr. Russell W. Johnson, will also work, but are not as direct).
2. If you have previously denied Dominion permission to survey, send another certified return receipt letter reiterating your denial and make reference to your previous letter by the date you wrote it.
3. Call our county’s newly assigned Right Of Way agent, Jeff Arrington (304) 308-1621 and inform him of your prior or recent refusal to allow Dominion to survey your property.
4.  If surveyors do show up at your door, show them a copy of your refusal letter and politely ask them to leave. If they do not leave, call the sheriff (434) 263-7050.

Remember: You have the legal right to deny permission to survey, until and unless Dominion obtains a court order to do so.

In Dominion’s own words:


 

ADVICE TO LANDOWNERS (October 2014)

Dominion is trying to reach landowners in Nelson to convince them to allow a survey, even though actual surveying is NOT supposed to be happening in Nelson yet. Dominion’s new Right of Way Acquisition Agent for Nelson County is Mr. Jeff Arrington, phone number (304) 308-1621 . If you are a landowner and don’t want your property surveyed, contact Mr. Arrington immediately.

Landowners: You can refuse survey. Apparently, a previous Right of Way Agent threatened one landowner that he would return with the Sheriff and a court order. Dominion has stated it will not survey landowner property without permission or a court order. Dominion does NOT have a court order to survey property in Nelson County. If a court order is obtained, we will immediately notify all landowners and provide a suggested response. (Note: FON cannot give legal advice. We encourage all landowners to seek an attorney for legal advice regarding their properties.)


A joint letter to all Nelson property owners from Friends of Nelson, Free Nelson, and the Pipeline Education Group was sent either by US Mail or by email on August 27, 2014. It reviews what we know now about Dominion’s proposed project and suggests ways for property owners, whether in the currently proposed path of the pipeline or not, to share information and to protect our personal property as well as the beauty and character of our county.