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Pipelines are a major catalyst for eminent domain actions, as these pipelines must be laid continuously for hundreds of miles. Not surprisingly, many landowners with property in the proposed path of the pipeline are less than willing to allow companies to come onto their land, dig trenches, lay pipe, and then transport petroleum on an ongoing basis. For this reason, pipeline projects often result in a number of eminent domain lawsuits by companies trying to obtain easements to lay their pipes.
This is exactly what has happened in 14 various counties in Ohio regarding corporation Kinder Morgan’s Utopia Pipeline Project. According to reports,1 Kinder Morgan needed about 750 landowners to agree to easements for the pipeline to be installed on their property and the company is now involved in 239 lawsuits to try to obtain easements through eminent domain powers.
Challenging Eminent Domain Actions
Some landowners in Ohio are trying to challenge the eminent domain powers altogether in regard to the Utopia Project. One judge in Wood County sided with the landowners 2 and dismissed an action against a farm, claiming that the company’s use of eminent domain for this type of project was an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of the landowners. This is an outlier position, however, as eminent domain actions can be difficult to challenge. This case shows it is not impossible under certain circumstances, however.
Ensuring Just Compensation for Easements
The main course of action for landowners facing easement actions by Kinder Morgan is likely to ensure they are receiving just compensation for the use of their land and any damage to their land. The offers by companies such as Kinder Morgan are often grossly inadequate and it may be necessary for landowners to turn to the courts to order a sufficient amount of compensation. A skilled attorney can also engage in negotiations with corporations asserting eminent domain to obtain the proper amount landowners deserve.
Contact our Highly Experienced Eminent Domain Attorneys as Soon as Possible
If you are involved in an easement action involving the Kinder Morgan Pipeline or any other type of government-approved project, you should not wait to discuss your rights with an eminent domain lawyer. At the law firm of Sever Storey, we thoroughly understand all relevant laws to condemnation actions and are committed to defending the rights of landowners. Call us today for help at 888-318-3761.
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