Helping property owners protect their rights against eminent domain takings for oil and gas pipeline construction
Under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the government has the authority to take privately-owned lands for “public use,” so long as the government provides the landowner with just compensation. Though you may associate the term “public use” with roads, parks, government buildings, or similar projects, courts have broadened the definition of “public use” over recent years. Now, many private companies may pursue takings of land by claiming that the intended project will promote economic development and, therefore, should qualify as a public use.
One type of company that regularly seeks to claim private lands is oil and gas companies intending to build large pipelines that often extend for many miles and pass through numerous different properties. With the rapid increase in hydraulic fracturing—also known as fracking—for the extraction of oil and natural gas from underground shale rock, the number of proposed pipeline projects has also increased, potentially affecting more and more landowners each day.
If you have received notice that the government is planning to take all or part of your property for the purposes of a pipeline project, you should not delay in contacting an experienced pipeline takings attorney as soon as you can. These cases can be complicated and you should always have an attorney on your side who knows how to stand up to government entities and oil and gas companies to make sure your rights under the Constitution and eminent domain laws are fully protected. Call the experienced eminent domain lawyers at Sever Storey, LLP in Indiana for a case evaluation today.
Oil and gas companies assert that an increase in pipeline development will expand markets and access to unconventional natural oil and gas resources obtained by fracking. Therefore, these companies claim that building additional pipelines will foster economic growth and constitutes a public use in line with recent court decisions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the government agency that reviews pipeline projects that cross over state lines. If FERC finds that the public gains of the pipeline will outweigh negative effects, it can grant the right for the company to exercise eminent domain to take land needed for the project.
Landowners facing condemnation action due to pipeline project have specific rights, however, that should always be upheld. These rights include:
• The right to challenge the grounds for the taking
• The right to challenge a taking for procedural errors
• Just compensation for the fair market value of the property taken
• Compensation for certain qualified relocation costs
In order to ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected in a pipeline taking case, you should always seek representation by an attorney with extensive experience handling such eminent domain matters.
If you have received notice of an imminent pipeline taking of your land, call the law office of Sever Storey, LLP in Indiana today. We are completely committed to helping property owners fight for their rights in eminent domain cases, so call today at 888-318-3761 for a free case evaluation.
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