The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order on November 21, 2013, awarding a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, for the construction and operation of a natural gas pipeline, and related facilities, from Owings Mills in Baltimore County, to the existing Rutledge Compressor Station, located in Fallston, Harford County. The project includes 21.1 miles of 26-inch diameter pipeline.
The property rights to be acquired by Columbia Gas will include mostly easement rights over residential properties. Armed with the FERC-issued Certificate, Columbia Gas will possess the power of eminent domain, and will proceed to acquire the property easements that it needs in order to build and operate the new pipeline. See the proposed route.
MM&C Attorneys have outlined a few things that property owners in the line of this project—whose property is slated to be acquired by eminent domain—should know:
- If only part of your property is being taken, you are entitled to just compensation for the property taken from you, as well as damages caused to the remainder of the property as a result of the taking.
- Although Columbia Gas is only taking an “easement” over your property—and not taking property in fee simple—you are still entitled to be reimbursed for damages to the remainder of your property, caused by the taking.
- You do not have to accept the offer made to you for the purchase of easement rights. Instead, you have the right to dispute the offered amount, obtain your own appraisal, and seek just compensation that fairly reimburses you for the property taken from you.
- In addition to monetary compensation, the specific terms of the easement will affect your use of your property in the future and should be carefully reviewed and negotiated.
- You have the right to representation during negotiations, before a suit is filed. Pre-suit negotiations can benefit from the participation of an attorney experienced in eminent domain, and you will also be better-armed for trial with early consultation regarding your rights and pre-condemnation planning.
Miller, Miller & Canby has more than 60 years of real estate, eminent domain and condemnation experience—protecting clients’ rights throughout the condemnation process, and was awarded a U.S. News – Best Lawyers® First Tier ranking in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Eminent Domain and Condemnation for 2014. If you have any questions concerning how your property may be affected by this project, or require representation in dealing with Columbia Gas, please contact Joe Suntum, a practice leader in the law firm’s Eminent Domain practice, at 301-762-5212.