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Property owners disputing pipeline ruled against in Pennsylvania

Property takings are significant concerns for property owners, which is why property owners should be familiar with the process. A Pennsylvania court recently ruled that a natural gas and liquid pipelines company is a public utility and is able to use eminent domain in the construction of a disputed pipeline in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved the project, and the natural gas company has been allowed to use eminent domain to secure land it needs for the pipeline project. According to the natural gas company, the processed fuel from the pipeline would be used in regional markets and shipped overseas.

One of the ruling judges noted in the ruling that a public service would be improved by the proposed pipelines by improving how natural gas liquids are transported to customers in Pennsylvania. Other residents in Pennsylvania with property impacted by the proposed pipeline have previously brought similar legal challenges in court. Proponents of the pipeline argue that it will bring jobs and cleaner and more affordable energy resources.

Eminent domain is the process whereby the government obtains private property for public uses. There are requirements associated with eminent domain proceedings including that the property owner must receive just compensation for the property being condemned for public use. Just compensation usually refers to the fair market value of the property. In addition, relocation expenses may be involved.

It is important for property owners to be familiar with their rights related to eminent domain, which may threaten a family home or other valuable property or property right. Protections are available for property owners to ensure their property is properly taken and if property is subject to a taking, they are properly and fully compensated.

Source: Lancasteronline.com, "Court rules in favor of Sunoco, Mariner East II, clearing way for use of eminent domain," Ad Crable, May 21, 2017

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