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Most eminent domain cases involve a dispute of the value of the land and how much the landowner should be compensated for giving up their property. In many cases, the eminent domain is legally justified and challenging the condemnation action altogether is a serious task. However, it is possible to do and landowners should assert their ownership rights if the taking is not justified under the law.
With the Dakota Access Pipeline back in the news as the project gets back underway, we thought we would take a look at a case in which landowners in Kentucky successfully fought against eminent domain actions due to a pipeline.
A few years ago, plans were announced for the Bluegrass Pipeline to carry natural gas liquids through 13 different counties in Kentucky. Many different landowners would be affected by the pipeline and the two energy companies behind the project were trying to use eminent domain power to run the pipeline through numerous private properties.
Landowners were worried about having such a pipeline on their properties and farms because the liquids would be flammable and could create serious safety and environmental concerns. In addition, unlike many other natural gas pipelines, this particular pipeline would not be serving residents in Kentucky, but private customers of the energy companies.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals first decided in favor of the landowners, ruling that this type of pipeline was not considered to be for “public use” because it was not a utility that was under Public Service Commission regulation. In 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court declined review of the case, which means the Court of Appeals decision held. The decision is seen as a precedent that any utility not regulated by the PSC would not have the power to use eminent domain powers in Kentucky.
The above case is an example of landowners who successfully asserted their rights with the help of eminent domain attorneys. At Sever Storey, LLP, we help landowners throughout Kentucky and other states protect their rights in condemnation actions. Please call today at 888.318.3761 if you need assistance.
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