We believe in offering a fair compensation for easements. That’s why our offer will be based on standard practices used in the appraisal industry to determine a fair market value for the land rights. We will be open and transparent in our process. You will be provided with information that describes how the offer was derived. We encourage you to review the offer, consult with an appraiser or attorney, if you desire, and provide the land agent with any supporting material that should be considered.
It is our genuine goal to negotiate these land rights with each landowner along the route in a fair and equitable manner to reach a settlement that considers the needs of both parties. Should a negotiated settlement not be possible, the land rights may be acquired through the use of eminent domain – often referred to as condemnation.
Our right to use eminent domain to acquire the land rights to construct and maintain facilities on a landowner’s property is statutorily granted under Title 15, Section 717f(h) of the Natural Gas Act of 1938. Eminent domain authority grants a company land rights for a FERC-approved project without a grant of easement from the landowner. Eminent domain is only available once the project is approved by the FERC and a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity is issued.
The FERC does not approve a project unless it is in the public interest. Exercise of eminent domain is not a common practice in the natural gas industry. Instead, negotiated settlements are the norm. Our goal is not to use eminent domain. However, if this is the only option, we anticipate any eminent domain actions will be filed in federal court. If we file an action to acquire your property in federal district court, we satisfy our notice requirements by presenting the information provided in this letter to you, the property owner. The case itself would proceed in the United States district court for the district where the property is located, in accordance with federal law. The case would start with filing a complaint in federal court and by service of a Notice of Condemnation against all interested parties, including affected landowners.