Large scale pipeline projects can affect hundreds of landowners over large distances. The affected landowners should be aware of their legal rights throughout the duration of the project. One common question that arises is whether a surveyor from the gas company is allowed onto your property to survey the intended pipeline route.

This issue has been particularly at issue as of late due to headlines over the past several months. First, in the spring, a Georgia Sheriff’s Department charged three gas company surveyors with criminal trespass1 after they traveled deep into a farm property. The surveyors and gas company reportedly knew that they did not have the landowner’s permission to be on the property. Additionally, legal complications are arising in the large-scale Nexus Gas Transmission project as 91 landowners are refusing to allow surveyors to enter their land. In response, Nexus has filed legal action2 against all of these landowners trying to get a court order to allow the surveyors onto the properties.

While laws of every state can vary, the following is some basic information that every property owner should know in regard to surveyors:

  • Gas line surveyors may not enter your land without permission unless they fulfill legal requirements set by state law.
  • If the gas company properly notifies you under the law, they may be able to enter to complete certain tasks in some states even if you refuse.
  • If surveyors damage your land, you are likely entitled to compensation.
  • If surveyors do not follow the law and enter your land without permission, they may face civil and criminal action.

Contact a qualified condemnation attorney if you believe your rights have been violated

While the government does have certain powers when it comes to projects for public use, no landowner should be subjected to random trespassers on their property. At the law firm of Sever Storey, LLP, our eminent domain lawyers understand all of the relevant laws and requirements involved in government projects and we strive to protect the rights of property owners against unlawful actions such as trespass. Please call our office today at 888-318-3761 to find out how we can assist you.

1 http://savannahnow.com/news/2015-05-05/pipeline-surveyors-charged-trespass-screven
2 https://www.cleveland.com/akron/2015/08/nexus_gas_pipeline_company_sue.html