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According to an article published at Cleveland.com, Ohio residents opposed to the construction of a natural gas pipeline are continuing to fight even after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave the project a green light late last month. The pipeline still needs to obtain approvals from the Ohio EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which deal with various issues related to water quality, the discharge of drilling fluids, and construction under streams and rivers.
The proposed pipeline would run 255 miles from eastern Ohio to existing connection points in southeastern Michigan. Currently, Nexus Gas Transmission LLC continues to seek easements from property owners, but may soon seek orders of eminent domain to get the project started. There is a federal lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court requesting an injunction to prevent both the construction from starting and Nexus trying to negotiate with homeowners whose property would be affected by the pipeline.
Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property in certain circumstances. In some cases, private companies, such as energy companies or developers, may use eminent domain to complete projects that benefit the public.
The power of eminent domain has significant limitations protecting landowners from unjustified and uncompensated takings. First, for a proposed exercise of eminent domain to be upheld, it must be for a public purpose. While in this case, the pipeline would probably meet this threshold requirement, certain attempted uses of eminent domain do not. As a result, landowners should not assume that a proposed use of eminent domain is valid.
Second, a use of eminent domain requires that landowners be paid just compensation for their property. Under Ohio law, just compensation is the price a piece of property would fetch on the market in a voluntary sale from a willing buyer. Landowners are entitled to compensation if only part of their property is taken.
Not surprisingly, there is often significant disagreement between what the party exercising eminent domain thinks it should pay and what a landowner thinks she should receive. An experienced eminent domain attorney can help landowners ensure that their legal rights are protected and that they receive the compensation to which they are entitled.
If you believe your property may be affected by the Nexus pipeline or any other project that may involve the use of eminent domain, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At Sever Storey, we are committed to making sure that landowners obtain the compensation they are due under the law and we do not hesitate to fight an exercise of eminent domain in cases of government overreach. To schedule a free consultation with one of our eminent domain attorneys, call Sever Storey today at 888-318-3761 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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