The Mountain Valley Pipeline might have gotten a favorable ruling out of the Fourth Circuit earlier this week regarding the use of eminent domain, but the road has been very rocky for Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Work has started and stopped due to lawsuits; permits have been issued, challenged, and revoked; and the projected cost has gone from original estimates of $4B to more than $7B. Dominion now estimates that full service won’t begin until 2021 – a year behind schedule.
A recent article that appeared online via the Mooresville Citizen covered a public meeting hosted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation regarding the Oates Road widening project. NCDOT hosts such meetings all over the state, nearly year round, ostensibly giving the public the opportunity to view maps, ask questions, and learn how a specific transportation project might affect their property.
It appears that another natural gas pipeline crossing through Virginia – no, not the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but the Mountain Valley Pipeline – has hit a surprise hurdle.
The landscape of eminent domain law in North Carolina saw changes both big and small in 2016. The NC Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision in the Kirby case, marking a monumental shift towards protecting property owners’ rights. As a response, the North Carolina legislature tried their best to contain the damage and limit compensation to those affected landowners. The repercussions of these changes will ripple in the State for years to come. Continue reading “Eminent Domain Year-In-Review”
On Jan. 14th, 2015 State Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-117th Dist.) filed a bill proposing an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution in order to address concerns about the condemnation of private property within the state. House Bill 3 proposes to amend section 19 of the Constitution to explicitly state that (1) eminent domain should be used only to take private property for public use; (2) just compensation shall be paid whenever private property is taken; and (3) a landowner has a right to a jury trial in a condemnation matter. Rep. McGrady recently told the Hendersonville Lightning that “[a]mong state constitutions, only North Carolina does not expressly state that a government must pay for the private property it takes.” Indeed, even the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Continue reading “House Bill 3: Explicit Protections for Landowners”
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas have selected Dominion to construct their proposed 550-mile long natural gas pipeline. The so-called “Atlantic Coast Pipeline” will run from West Virginia, through Virginia and North Carolina, and will cost between $4.5 and $5 billion. In North Carolina, the pipeline will run from Northampton County, then travel southwest through six other counties before ending in Robeson County and connecting to existing Piedmont Natural Gas transmission facilities. According to a Duke Energy press release, “Dominion is conducting land surveys along the proposed pipeline route. It will determine the final route based on landowner input; community meetings in counties on the route; consultation with government agencies and other interested stakeholders; and an environmental, historical and cultural impact assessment.” Continue reading “Dominion Selected to Build $5B Atlantic Coast Pipeline”
House Bill 272, which was referred to the Transportation Committee on April 18th, proposes to change the statute addressing the payment of costs by the Department of Transportation in a condemnation lawsuit. The fourth version of the bill would amend NC General Statute Sec. 113-136 to require interest on the judgment awarded to the landower to be paid from the date of taking (when the suit is filed) until the date the judgment is paid, rather than until the date of judgment. In theory, this would encourage the DOT to pay the judgment as soon as possible to avoid interest accruing. Continue reading “NC House Bill 272 proposes to change costs paid by the DOT”
In March, North Carolina legislators introduced a bill to remove restrictions placed on considering the so-called I-540 “Red Route” through Garner. House Bill 10 was subsequently amended, and the third version (referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House as of March 12, 2013) would also remove authorization for three major projects from the Turnpike Authority. Those major projects are (1) the Garden Parkway (also known as the Gaston East West Connector); the Cape Fear Skyway; and the Mid-Currituck Bridge. The bill does not propose to terminate the projects; however, it does mean those projects will now have to compete with other Department of Transportation projects for scarce funding.
On June 29, 2012 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Department of Transportation’s petition to reconsider the court’s earlier ruling invalidating the DOT’s environmental study for the Monroe Bypass. In the earlier opinion, decided May 3, 2012, the Fourth Circuit ruled that the DOT “failed to take the required ‘hard look’ at environmental consequences” of the construction of the Monroe Bypass. As a result, the DOT’s engineers and consultants are “working hard to gather additional data required to address the concerns of the court, ” according to a July 19, 2012 press release. Continue reading “NC DOT takes another look at Monroe Bypass environmental data after the 4th Circuit declines to reconsider case”