If nothing else, a ruling Tuesday by a judge in Suffolk Circuit Court delays Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s campaign to gain access to about 50 acres of private property in the city without the owner’s permission to survey for a possible route for a portion of the interstate natural gas pipeline.
Judge Carl Eason found that Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s notice to Davis Boulevard LLC, a residential developer, of the pipeline company’s intent to survey the property without permission was flawed because the notification came from Dominion Transmission Inc. — one of the partners for the proposed pipeline — and not Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Jim Norvelle, a spokesman for Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, said the ruling is largely a technical matter and will not impact the project schedule. New letters will be sent from Atlantic Coast Pipeline, he said.
WAYNESBORO — Letters sent out to landowners impacted by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Augusta, Buckingham and Nelson counties violated state law, project opponents say. Dominion officials, meanwhile, claim the problem stems from a mistake made while typing up the documents and will soon be corrected.
Following a previous lawsuit just a few weeks ago, a second decision on property rights and how they affect the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline is in the hands of a federal judge.
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski heard arguments in Harrisonburg from both sides in a dispute over whether a utility company’s workers have the right to survey someone’s land.
Churchville resident William Little II filed a two-part lawsuit against Dominion Resources, arguing that the gas company would be trespassing on his property if it came to do a survey of his land for the proposed pipeline route. He also argued that a Virginia statute related to natural gas companies should be declared unconstitutional. Continue reading Property Rights Become Focus of Pipeline Lawsuit→
Members of the group Preserve Franklin gathered at the Rocky Mount Courthouse steps this past Thursday to protest the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Concerned citizens, mostly Franklin County residents, braved cold temperatures and high winds to hold signs that warned of what they believe are real dangers if the pipeline is constructed.
For Preserve Franklin, the battle to stop the pipeline has been difficult. Residents along the route of the pipeline and even the counties themselves have little say in if the pipeline is constructed. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission itself will give final approval of the project. Continue reading Preserve Franklin Protests Mountain Vally Pipeline→
One of the biggest backers of the state’s 2012 constitutional amendment narrowing eminent domain may have to cede a piece of his family land to the Mountain Valley Pipeline project out in southwest Virginia.
Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, said in committee Monday he had to abstain from a pipeline-related vote because his family farmland in Montgomery County may be on the route of the 300-mile interstate pipeline proposed by EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy.
The bill heard Monday sought to prevent interstate pipeline companies from doing surveying and other preliminary work on private property without the owner’s consent.
Three bills related to the controversy surrounding allowing Dominion Transmission access to land without owners’ consent to survey for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia died in the Senate yesterday. Pipeline opponents were disappointed with the result but not discouraged. On their Facebook pages, two local groups voiced their reactions:
Friends of Nelson: “…folks, please know, while yesterday’s result was disappointing, it was not surprising, nor in any way a defeat. Power loosens its grip slowly, only with a lot of arm twisting. I thank everyone deeply for their time and efforts yesterday. We twisted; the grip IS loosening.”
Friends of Augusta: “So disappointed… It was a 12 hour day for some of us so resting up now because the fight continues! We saw first hand today how important numbers are so please keep calling and writing. It matters! We just have to keep resisting this damn pipeline and they will have no option but to listen to us! Thanks for your continued support Friends!”
The fate of a lawsuit filed by five Nelson County residents against Dominion Transmission remains unknown after a Thursday morning hearing in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.
The lawsuit, filed in September, asks the court to declare unconstitutional a Virginia statute relevant to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Section 56-49.01 of the Virginia Code allows natural gas companies to survey private property as long as previous notification has been served.
Dominion asked the court in November to dismiss the suit, and that request is what Thursday’s arguments focused on.
RICHMOND – The push to open up records on projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline died in the House of Delegates on Thursday.
House Bill 1696 was killed in committee on a near-unanimous voice vote. The bill, introduced by Del. Dickie Bell, would have made public utilities subject to sunshine laws on projects where the company is allowed to exercise eminent domain.
“Eminent domain is a powerful tool, I’m sure everybody in the room knows that,” Bell, R-Staunton, said during a hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee.