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The United States House of Representatives is considering amending the Natural Gas Act to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission broader powers to approve pipelines. Current law requires approval at both the state and federal level.
Not surprisingly, the natural gas industry is supportive of the change, saying that the current system takes too long and has recently started taking even longer. In a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy Subcommittee, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America Pres. Donald F. Santa testified that “federal permitting agencies are taking longer, and, in some cases, are electing not to initiate reviews until FERC has completed its review of a proposed pipeline project. These disjointed, sequential reviews cause delays and, in some cases, create the need for supplemental environmental analysis.”
On the other side of the debate, opponents of the amendment argue that fast-tracking pipeline projects could have negative environmental impacts and that the law would undermine states’ rights.
Regardless of the outcome of this debate, it is a certainty that states and oil and gas companies will continue to use eminent domain to seize landowners’ property to expand existing infrastructure. Eminent domain is a government’s power to take private property for a public purpose, provided that it gives the owner “just compensation.”
But what exactly is just compensation? This is often the main issue in an eminent domain case, and landowners who do not have experience with this area of law are at a significant disadvantage when dealing with government agencies or private companies that regularly seize property. For this reason, anyone who is affected by a pipeline project or another exercise of eminent domain should speak with a lawyer before accepting an offer on his or her property.
You need only do a quick online search to see that pipelines can abuse the regulatory process. For instance, the Rover Pipeline in Ohio recently demolished a historic building without approval. Protecting landowner property rights is important. Sever Storey is now offering services to landowners who wish to make sure that their rights are protected during the regulatory approval process.
If you are a landowner whose property is or may become the subject of a condemnation action, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Sever Storey have the skill and experience required to make sure that you receive the full value of your property and that any proposed exercise of eminent domain is legally justified. For a free case evaluation with an eminent domain attorney, call our office today at 888-318-3761 or contact us online.
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