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The Roanoke Times is reporting that a group of landowners affected by the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has appealed an adverse decision in federal court to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the article, this is the first time anyone has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case regarding the project.
The MVP is a proposed natural gas pipeline system that will span about 300 miles. If the project moves forward as planned, the pipeline will run from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The pipeline is expected to provide significant transmission capacity to markets in the mid and south Atlantic regions of the United States.
The appeal is specifically asking the Supreme Court to review a lower court’s dismissal of the case. The lawsuit is asking the Court to consider several constitutional questions, including whether government should delegate the power of eminent domain to private companies that are pursuing profits. The appeal argues that Congress gave too much power to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission while providing minimal guidance as to what constitutes a public use, an essential legal requirement of any eminent domain action.
In this case, the landowners are mounting a fairly sophisticated legal challenge to the proposed eminent domain action. Landowners in more straightforward eminent domain actions should retain an attorney as well—even if they have no plans to challenge the proposed action.
When the government or another party use eminent domain to force the sale of property, it must provide the property owner with just compensation. In practice, many projects where the party pursuing it could invoke eminent domain are actually resolved out of court. Both parties know that a court could force a sale, so it’s more efficient for them to settle on a sale price for the property.
Here is where the assistance of an attorney can prove invaluable. A lawyer familiar with eminent domain law can look at all of the facts of the case and the circumstances of your land and make sure that you get the full and fair value of your property. If the buying party refuses to make a reasonable offer and moves forward with an eminent domain action, your lawyer can represent you in court and present evidence that demonstrates the actual value of your land. In addition, at Sever Storey, we will only collect fees on the amount you get above your initial offer, so there is no risk that you will obtain less compensation after retaining our services.
At Sever Storey, we are dedicated to helping landowners obtain the just compensation to which they are entitled—and we will not hesitate to challenge an eminent domain action if the facts warrant doing so. With more than 25 years of combined experience, we are qualified to bring your case to the best resolution possible. To schedule your free consultation with a member of our team, call our office today at (888) 318-3761 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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