Property owners have important rights associated with the condemnation process. Two Pennsylvania residents are challenging the planned oil pipeline that would cut through their property. The proposed pipeline would carry natural gas liquid, including propane, methane and butane. In addition, the proposed pipeline is intended to transport natural gas liquids removed from hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania and will run along the border of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Eastern Ohio. The natural gas company offered the couple $14,000 for 3 acres of their land but the couple refused the offer.
The couple is concerned about the impact the pipeline will have on their property, including a pond on the property and a small stream on the property, the potential impact of machinery on their property and the potential negative impact on the value of their property. The company is now seeking to obtain the property through eminent domain. The couple has responded that the claim is an improper application of eminent domain and does not apply to the situation. The couple argues the definition of eminent domain does not apply to the case.
In response, the company seeking the couple’s Pennsylvania land through eminent domain noted that it uses the condemnation process as a last result and attempts to negotiate fairly with property owners to reach agreements that are satisfactory all parties involved. The company is currently seeking 113 pieces of land in the area. A judge recently heard both side of the dispute but did not make a decision. The couple stated a willingness to take the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
When a dispute relates to property rights, it is important for property owners to be aware of the legal protections that may be available to them depending on the circumstances. Eminent domain can be a confusing and complex process and create considerable and understandable concerns for property owners.
While the government has the power to acquire private property for a public use through the condemnation process, there are certain rules and requirements associated with the process. It is important that property owners know how to challenge the condemnation process or ensure just compensation is paid, as the situation demands.
Source: Wearecentralpa.com, “Two people fighting pipeline through property,” Christian Heilman, Nov. 3, 2015