A newly filed lawsuit is seeking to stop federal regulators from granting the developers of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline the power of eminent domain.
The lawsuit was filed yesterday in federal court in Roanoke, Virginia, on behalf of property owners in the pipeline’s path.
It challenges the constitutional authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees interstate natural gas pipelines, to grant eminent domain powers to private profit seeking parties.
Spokeswomen for FERC and the pipeline said they could not comment on pending litigation.
The 303 mile project would transport natural gas from fracking drill fields through West Virginia before connecting to another pipeline in Virginia’s southside.
Participants in the lawsuit hope it will protect their private property from what they describe as “a government-sanctioned land grab” for the financial gain of a private pipeline company.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Roanoke challenges the authority of the FERC to “sub-delegate” the power of eminent domain to a company like Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC. And it seeks a preliminary injunction that would prevent FERC from granting that power to Mountain Valley to acquire easements if the commission issues the certificate the company needs to begin constructing a pipeline.
Opposition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline and to the separate-but-similar Atlantic Coast Pipeline to the north, has focused both on environmental issues and the protection of private property rights.
Among other allegations, the lawsuit contends FERC’s process for establishing whether a pipeline project will serve a true public benefit is deeply flawed and violates the US Constitution. And it argues that when Congress amended the Natural Gas Act of 1938 in 1947 and gave FERC’s predecessor the authority to grant eminent domain it did so without sufficient guidance.
Read the article online at: https://www.energyglobal.com/pipelines/business-news/04082017/ferc-and-mountain-valley-pipeline-face-legal-action/