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According to a report by WFMY News 2, the Alamance County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the MVP Southgate project after hearing from the public. MVP Southgate is a proposed 72-mile natural gas pipeline system that would receive gas from the Mountain Valley Pipeline and transport it to delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance Counties. Some concerns raised by the public include loss of building sites, a disruption in water quality, and issues with property development.
While the county has no authority to stop the pipeline, the county attorney will submit the resolution to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) during the public comment period regarding the proposed project. According to the WFMY News 2 story, leaders in the county are urging the public who oppose the pipeline to submit comments to the federal government.
While there is certainly a chance that the MVP Southgate project will not move forward as proposed, landowners must recognize that these kinds of projects are extremely difficult to stop on legal grounds. Courts consistently uphold utility projects as legitimate exercises of eminent domain, which means that the best that landowners whose properties are in the path of the project can hope for is to obtain a fair amount for their properties.
Eminent domain allows the government (and private parties authorized by the government, like energy companies) to take private property, so long as it is for a public purpose. The law also requires the condemning authority to provide the landowner with just compensation for any taken land.
In practice, most eminent domain cases begin when a party seeking a tract of land contacts the owner and informs the owner about the intention to purchase the land. Next, the two parties often attempt to negotiate a fair price—unless the landowner refuses to sell. If that occurs, the party seeking the land will likely go to court and attempt to force a sale of the land by exercising its power of eminent domain.
Landowners need the representation of an attorney during this process. In many cases, the initial offers made by the party seeking the land are far less than the value of the property. An attorney familiar with eminent domain law can generate evidence of the actual value of the property and use it to negotiate a fair settlement. If your attorney cannot reach a fair settlement, your lawyer will represent you in court and present evidence of the value of your land to ensure that you obtain the compensation to which you are legally entitled.
If you are a property owner affected by this or any other project involving eminent domain, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The North Carolina eminent domain lawyers of Sever Storey have more than 25 years of combined experience helping landowners and have the skill and experience required to get you to compensation you deserve for your property. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, contact us online or call our office at (888) 318-3761.
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