EQT & NextEra Pipeline Project Bring Legal Action for Private Land Surveys

by Duane Nichols on April 20, 2015

Natural Gas Pipeline Installation

Mountain Valley pipeline project takes property holders to court for access

From an Article by Casey Junkins, Wheeling News-Register, April 20, 2015

Moundsville, WV – Dozens of West Virginia landowners do not want Mountain Valley Pipeline surveyors in their neighborhoods, so developers of the 42-inch diameter natural gas project are suing the property owners in federal court to gain access.

Photo: As contractors continue building pipelines to move Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas to market, Mountain Valley Pipeline developers are suing dozens of West Virginia property owners for the right to survey their land.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is one of several large projects planned to move Marcellus and Utica shale material through West Virginia on its way to larger markets such as New York City and North Carolina. If built, the line would send 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day southward from MarkWest Energy’s Mobley processing station in Wetzel County to Virginia.

“People have said no. It can be an emotional issue. Some of this is totally pristine property,” Tim Greene, owner of Land and Mineral Management of Appalachia and a former West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection inspector, said. “Sometimes, people just don’t want a pipeline on their property.”

Shale driller EQT Corp. and NextEra US Gas Assets are the Mountain Valley Pipeline developers. Mountain Valley sued numerous individual West Virginia landowners in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on March 27, even though the project originates in the northern half of the state.

“Each of the respondents have failed or refused to permit Mountain Valley Pipeline (to) enter the respondent’s properties/or prevented Mountain Valley Pipeline from completing the necessary survey,” the complaint filed by the firm’s attorney Charles Piccirillo states.

The complaint cites a portion of West Virginia law that pipeline organizers believe gives them the power to use eminent domain to construct pipelines for public use. However, Greene believes this is part of the problem.

“That is the first thing they say when they approach these surface owners now,” he said of the eminent domain possibility. “People don’t like to be bullied, so they might just tell you not to even come on their property at all.”

Greene also cited pipeline accidents, such as the January rupture in the ATEX Express ethane pipeline in Brooke County that created a massive fireball.

“There are just so many of these pipelines going in right now. And, there is a worry in the surface owner that something will leak or even explode,” Greene said. “I mean, some of this is pristine property and some people just don’t want it.”

Subject to approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Mountain Valley Pipeline will connect to an existing transmission system in West Virginia. The line will then head to the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Virginia.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin continues expressing support for the project that could create up to 4,000 construction jobs in the Mountain State. Proprietors hope to have the project up and running before the end of 2018.

“We appreciate EQT’s continued investments in our state and their willingness to work with local economic developers to provide natural gas service in areas that would benefit from both new industry and downstream growth,” he said. “These investments have the potential to create good-paying jobs and by keeping key byproducts in our state, we have the opportunity to rejuvenate our manufacturing sector and create promising opportunities for future generations.”

Greene said traditionally, a pipeline firm would offer landowners $1 per foot for crossing their property with a right-of-way agreement. However, he said the going rate is higher now because the size and scale of the pipelines is generally larger.

“These pipelines are going to go somewhere. You can’t have gas without pipelines and you can’t have pipelines without gas,” Greene said. “Still, it can be done in a way where everybody wins.”

See also: www.FrackCheckWV.net and www.MAREproject.org

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

A P Mama April 22, 2015 at 8:35 am

No, sadly, it cannot be done in a way where everybody wins.

Marcellus shale gas comes from the Marcellus stratum, the most radioactive stratum in the ground. The waste water and cuttings from these operations are laced with chemicals and radioactive elements, which must then be dumped or injected underground because they are SO hazardous.

Yet, because of the “Halliburton Loophole,” they are unregulated and not required to be placarded. The injection of fluids has been known to communicate with unknown (or known) fault lines and stimulate seismic activity. This is why Youngstown, OH and other places recenty have had so many earthquakes so suddenly, when they had very few or NONE before. A Duke University study where information was gathered between 2010 and 2012 found that fracking wastewater elevated radioactivity in Pennsylvania river water.

Guess who is downstream of that? Yep. West Virginia. Other studies show endocrine and hormone disruption from exposure to fracking chemicals. Both intentional dumping by third-party contractors and accidental leaks or spills have poisoned with water on both public and private lands. There are not enough inspectors to keep watch on all this activity, so it is impossible to monitor.

The sad truth is, fracking, even under the best conditions, will never be safe. It is inherently unsafe. Even if it were, methane leaks are having a much more devastating effect on the global climate than CO2 for the near future (20-100 years).

Why do this to the planet when renewables are now within reach? There is no other answer but greed. It is time to turn the tides and do something different. There is not much time left. How will we explain the devastation to our children and grandchildren? Why would we want to?


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