Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Avoid Paying for Leases, Pipeline Company Seeks Utility Status

Landowners looking to lease gas rights for drilling are advised by their lawyers to lease pipeline rights separately. But, if energy corporations have their way, they might be able to simply take people's land through eminent domain and dispense with shelling out the cash.

It's only been 20 months since the guys from Oklahoma and Texas came through with the Millennium Pipeline. Finally the vegetation is beginning to cover the scars on our hills - and now another pipeline company wants to carve a 50-foot wide swath across the farms and forests from northern Pennsylvania through Windsor and southern Broome County, NY to connect with the Millennium pipeline.

Laser Northeast Gathering Company, formerly Laser Midstream, filed a request in January to become a public utility. If the request is approved, Laser would be allowed to obtain land for a proposed natural gas pipeline through eminent domain. The folks at yesterday's hearing weren't enthralled with the idea of allowing a private corporation  the power to take their land so they can make a profit. You can read the article here.

The idea of allowing private profit-driven corporations the power of eminent domain just doesn't sit right with me - and hasn't since the Kelo vs. New London.

1 comment:

  1. It appears from the testimony of a PA PUC representative that the commission does not want jurisdiction over Class 1 gas gathering lines. That is, both they and the federal PHMSA consider the risk to the public too low to justify safety regulation/inspection. It's not clear whether/not eminent domain would apply to obtaining a r-o-w for a Class 1 gathering line.

    A Class 1 pipeline is one where there are 10 or fewer dwelling units (per mile) within 200 meters of the pipeline.

    PA PUC testimony: