Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

As a property owner I attended one of the Dominion Gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline Open Houses last month.

The company reps were friendly, helpful and answered questions readily and the aerial maps of the area overlaid with tax map property boundaries within the path being studied for the proposed 42 inch pipeline were especially helpful for visualizing where the line might go. Those maps are now posted on the Dominion website at www. dom.com/business/gas-trans mission/atlantic-coast-pipe line/index.jsp

But I was concerned to hear so many landowners who 1) assumed it was a done deal, that the pipeline would be coming through their property, and 2) that they were obligated to allow surveyors on their property and 3) they would be better off signing a right-of-way agreement sooner rather than later.

None of those three are true.

1) Even the best case scenario for Dominion indicates the studies and permitting process for the necessary Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval will take many months, likely even two years or so, and the route might be different when all is said and done.

2) You do not have to agree to let anyone on your property for any reason unless they can produce a document showing that they have the right to enter. The company cannot use eminent domain at this point in time if you refuse to allow a survey.

3) In fact the company will not be able to exercise eminent domain to enter your property or to take the right-of-way to cross your land with the pipeline unless and until the entire permitting process is complete and FERC approval is obtained. Even then Dominion will have to go to court to exercise that right and property owners would do well to pay a lawyer to assist them at that point to insist on fair market value for their property rather than relying on other values the company might offer (eg. the assessed value of your land).

Anyone with access to a computer should go to the website of the West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization (WVSORO) for more detail:

See wvsoro.org/resources /advice/index.html#pipeline and wvsoro.org/resources/ advice/advice26.html

Cindy Rank


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