Last September, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 4673, “Reaffirming Property Rights Through The Natural Gas Act Modernization Act.
This bill has a number of noteworthy provisions that provide needed protections for landowners nationwide facing increased and unfair use of eminent domain for pipeline development.
If you have not already reached out to your senators to encourage them to consider this bill, please do! The bill has been referred to the committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The best way to keep the bill moving forward is to encourage a hearing!
Please reach out to your Senators today, particularly if they are members of the Commerce Committee.
Provisions included in the bill are outlined below;
- Sec 2 -Establishes that there is No Presumption of Public Interest in the export of Natural Gas.
- Sec. 4 Ensures Notice to Landowners occurs in a clear and uniform way, and that all impacted
persons have the information needed to intervene in the process.
- Sec. 5 Lays out Requirements for Exercise of Eminent Domain, stipulating that pipeline
companies obtain all other required state and federal approvals and permits before construction
- Sec. 6 is a Requirement to Execute Project Only for Certain Purposes – that is, according to
the plans provided to FERC with its application. This prevents a bait-and-switch.
- Sec. 7 ensures that companies cannot “sit” on undeveloped confiscated land for more than one year without proceeding, or if a project does not go ahead as planned, this provision also ensures that property reverts back to the previous property owner.
- Sec. 8 Ensures that in the event eminent domain is exercised, property owners are more fairly compensated
- Sec. 9 eliminates FERC’s historic practice of using “tolling orders,”