RICHMOND, VA – On Tuesday, February 16, Appalachian Mountain Advocates will seek to persuade the Virginia Supreme Court to enforce private property rights against Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP). The group hopes the Court will reconsider a lower court’s decision to allow pipeline surveyors to enter private property over the owner’s refusal. The Court’s decision could impact all Virginia landowners living in the footprint of any one of a number of proposed pipelines.
Derek Teaney, Senior Attorney with Appalmad, will argue on behalf several families who own land in Giles County, Virginia. These families, like hundreds across the state, may be forced to let pipeline surveyors onto their land under Virginia’s power of eminent domain.
Eminent domain typically refers to the government’s right to use private property for public good. But privately owned pipeline builders across the country have relied on eminent domain to obtain the land to build their projects. MVP has sued families in Virginia and West Virginia to force access over landowner objections.
Appalachian Mountain Advocates represents landowners facing similar issues throughout Virginia and West Virginia. The firm successfully prevented Mountain Valley Pipeline from entering private property in West Virginia. Virginia courts have not followed suit. All work performed by the group is entirely pro bono.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run over 300 miles from West Virginia to southern Virginia. It would be a high pressure, large diameter pipeline, 42 inches in diameter throughout its length. By comparison, Keystone XL would have been 36 inches. It is intended to carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia to markets further south and possibly abroad. The Mountain Valley Pipeline crosses the private property of hundreds of different landowners.
The Court’s decision will also impact landowners living in the shadow of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, including many of the nearly 250 landowners who learned just last week that pipeline has been re-routed through their property.
Contact: Isak Howell, Staff Attorney, Appalachian Mountain Advocates
Appalachian Mountain Advocates is a nonprofit environmental law and policy center with offices in West Virginia and Virginia. For over 15 years, Appalmad has fought for clean water and clean energy in central Appalachia and beyond.