What are some important things landowners in the affected counties need to consider?
The pipeline company will have both experienced attorneys and trained negotiators working for it. We highly recommended that an affected landowner seek the assistance of an experienced pipeline attorney to negotiate an agreement that better protects the landowner’s property and to assist the landowner to maximize the compensation received. The fees that the attorneys charge a landowner are generally based on a percentage of the amount the pipeline company agrees to pay above the pipeline company’s initially offer the landowner.
What is the process moving forward?
No action is necessary until the proposed route of the pipeline is established. If your property is located within one of the possible routes it is exploring, the pipeline company or their land acquisition company will contact you directly to request survey permission. There may be up to three possible routes initially considered and the widths of the initial areas surveyed are often several times wider than the final right
of way that is necessary. The landowner should contact an experienced pipeline attorney when the request for the survey is made to help make the process move smoothly. Once the route is established, the owners of the affected tracts will begin receiving offers.
How should I respond to the request for survey permission?
If you refuse to grant the pipeline company or its land agent permission to survey your property, the pipeline company can go to court and obtain an order granting it permission to perform the survey. The better course of action is to hire an experienced pipeline attorney who will review the request for survey permission and provide your grant of permission with additional language that will protect any situations that are unusual or unique to your property.
What is the timeline?
The process of route selection is underway. The pipeline company or its land acquisition company will initiate the right of way acquisition process sometime in 2013.
Must I come to the lawyer's office to consult with a lawyer?
No, our lawyers will come to your property or meet you in a convenient location. We have lawyers in Canfield, Cambridge, Washington Courthouse, Highland County, and Batavia, Ohio, as well as lawyers in Kentucky. In addition to the Landowner group meetings
that we will post on this web site, we can schedule to meet you and your neighboring landowners in a location that is convenient to you. Go to our Contact page
to schedule a consultation.
Why are two Fairfield County lawyers Ohio’s pipeline authorities?
Notice that all three major pipelines that have been constructed in Ohio since
1999 have all been routed through Fairfield County.
In 1999, when a 150 mile pipeline was being acquired to pump 80,000 gallons a day of gasoline, kerosene, diesel and jet fuel from Kenova, W.Va. to Columbus, our group members were adversaries. Steve Davis, of the Crabbe, Brown & James LLP firm was working for the pipeline company acquiring the right of way, and Sitterley & Vandervoort LTD was assisting multiple affected landowners.
In 2008, when the 1663 mile Rockies Express Pipeline announced it was installing a 36 inch natural gas pipeline beginning in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, and terminating in Monroe County Ohio, Steve Davis joined forces with Sitterley & Vandervoort LTD to help protect the affected landowners in multiple counties across Ohio.
In 2011, the ATEX Express 1,230-mile pipeline from the Marcellus-Utica Shale region of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the Texas Gulf Coast was announced. Steve Davis and Sitterley & Vandervoort LTD helped to form a group of landowners and assisted with the successful negotiation of over 12 total miles of pipeline right of way.
The New Bluegrass Pipeline:
On March 6, 2013, Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP announced that they are forming a joint venture to develop a pipeline project to transport natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to the Gulf Coast. The proposed “Bluegrass Pipeline” will be designed to initially transport up to 200,000 barrels per day of mixed NGLs produced in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. By adding additional liquids pumping capacity, the proposed pipeline could be increased to 400,000 barrels per day. The companies said they have not finalized the planned route for the pipeline. Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP have indicated that they will need to receive approvals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), among others. Only a portion of the entire project from Western Kentucky to the Gulf Coast will require FERC approval. Much of the Bluegrass Pipeline construction in Kentucky, and all of it in Ohio, will not be subject to FERC oversight and approval.
Attorneys Steve Davis and Craig Vandervoort are now forming a group of landowners affected by the Bluegrass Pipeline. Each member of the group will be a landowner whose property is affected by the Bluegrass Pipeline. Although all members will enjoy the benefits of negotiating from a position of size and experience, each member enters an individual attorney-client agreement. No information or final settlement amount of individual members is shared with other members of the group. In fact, we anticipate that all of our members’ final agreements will be subject to confidentiality agreements.
Many of our members will contact us when Bluegrass Pipeline requests written permission to survey their property. We will help you address any concerns you have during the survey phase of this project.
There are also many landowners who wait until Bluegrass Pipeline makes them an initial offer. If you do receive an offer, do not sign it or otherwise accept it. Notify Bluegrass that you are going to have it reviewed by your attorneys and contact us immediately.