Thursday, November 17, 2016

W.Va. Supreme Court says pipeline surveyors must have permission of landowners

Roanoke Times map
The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline "cannot survey land for the project without the permission of the landowners," Ken Ward reports for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. "Justices upheld an August 2015 ruling by Monroe County Circuit Judge Robert A. Irons in favor of Bryan and Doris McCurdy, residents of the county who argued that allowing the pipeline company onto their property without their permission violates a basic right of all West Virginians."

The 300-mile pipeline would run from from Wetzel County, West Virginia, to Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In August 2015 a Virginia circuit judge ruled against eight landowners in a similar case, finding "that a controversial law in that state allowing natural-gas companies to survey private property without an owner’s permission is not unconstitutional," Duncan Adams reported for The Roanoke Times.

In Tuesday's ruling, Justice Robin Jean Davis "said there was no proof that the MVP project would serve any 'public use,' a requirement under state law for developers to use eminent domain to force landowners to allow such surveys," Ward writes. Davis wrote, “Thus, this case represents exactly the type of private taking for private use that is prohibited."

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