Dominion's Gas Pipeline Wars

Local landowners strike back in eminent domain cases

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Hydraulic fracking for natural gas continues to shake things up. Richmond-based Dominion Resources is at the center of things.

Its subsidiary, Dominion Transmission, is taking a hard line with property owners in the way of the planned $5 billion Atlantic Coat Pipeline that will transport gas from gas fields in West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina.

Although Dominion hasn’t formally filed for a federal review of the 550-milion-long pipeline, it is using its legal clout to force its way onto private property if owners say no, as several hundred have. Dominion is using an obscure 2004 law that says energy firms can push their way onto property even if the owner says no.

Many of the property owners in rural Nelson and Augusta counties do not take to being told they must let surveyors on their property or face lawsuits. Dominion plans to sue 240. Some have retaliated by suing Dominion in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg. A hearing was held Feb. 5.

The same issues of eminent domain have come up in western Virginia where another gas pipeline in planned and in East Texas where the controversial Keystone XL to take oil shale from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast is planned.

Style wrote about this in December. I followed up in this Sunday’s Washington Post with an opinion piece

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