The Central New York Oil & Gas Co. assured residents and regulators it would avoid using eminent domain to lay its pipeline in Pennsylvania's pristine Endless Mountains. But 2 days after FERC granted approval, the company went to court to condemn nearly half the properties along the route.
"LAPORTE, Pa. -- A pipeline operator assured federal regulators it would minimize using eminent domain against private landowners if given approval to lay a 39-mile natural gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania's pristine Endless Mountains.
Yet the company was readying condemnation papers against dozens of landowners even as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was considering its application for the $250 million MARC 1 pipeline. Within two days of winning approval, Central New York Oil & Gas Co., LLC went to court to condemn nearly half the properties along the pipeline's route -- undercutting part of the regulatory commission's approval rationale and angering landowners who are now fighting the company in court.
Eminent domain would give the company the right to excavate and lay the 30-inch diameter pipeline on private property. Landowners would not lose their properties and would be compensated.
The dispute could foreshadow eminent domain battles to come as more pipelines are approved and built to carry shale gas to market in states like Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio."