Rule Number 1 – if some fracker tries to buy your land for a pipeline right of way (ROW) and threatens you with an eminent domain condemnation, tell them: “Come and take it.” Force them to have to condemn it. Have blogged about this before and the word has gotten out : You’re better off forcing a condemnation than selling or leasing an easement. Make the frackers have to take it away from you. Don’t sell out cheap, if at all.
This is a 2012 University of Texas study that shows that, on average, a landowner gets 78% more from having their property condemned than what they get in a negotiated sale:
pdf of the study – print out and give to your neighbors in harm’s way of the planned routes :
Here’s a recent guest editorial from a local paper:
“Think Twice Before Signing an Easement
The 126 mile Constitution pipeline is slated to run behind my farm and under Crane Hill Rd. as well as County Route 23.
- You will have significant and continuing extra liability insurance expense if you can obtain insurance at all.
- You will enter into a business relationship with unknown future liabilities as part of a commercial enterprise.
- You will give away your right to sue Constitution for damages.
- You may not be able to obtain a mortgage with a pipeline on you land.
- You may not be able to sell your property because future buyers many not be able to secure a mortgage with a pipeline on your property.
- In the event the pipeline does not get built, they still own your easement and it will remain on your deed.
- The easement becomes theirs and they can sell it to another company, so you wonâ€™t know what may end up on that easement.
If you DON’T SIGN and the pipeline company ultimately uses Eminent Domain:
- Only gas can be transported in the right of way, no tar sands or other liquids
- No future pipelines or other utilities, above ground items, or compressor stations will be allowed on your land.
- You will still be paid for the easement: perhaps a lot more than Constitution is offering you now.
- You have NO liability.
- You preserve your right to sue Constitution later for the full value of your land.
Reasons to refuse to negotiate and say NO to the Constitution Pipeline Company:
- They don’t want you to know that if many people along the proposed route refuse to sign an easement agreement FERC may not grant a permit to build the pipeline.
- They don’t want to be sued because they took your property without just compensation.
- They don’t care about your loss of property value, your increase in liability and your inability to get a mortgage.
- They don’t want you to know that anything they said to you is not enforceable in court.
- They don’t want you to know that it costs them a lot of money to use eminent domain to force their way onto your land.
Please think about what you have to lose. You may think a legal contract will protect you – good luck enforcing it. Are you prepared to go up against the gas company in court if they don’t abide by your contract? Think about how much money the pipeline companies have, their huge legal teams and how long they can drag it out in court.
1. Get their best offer in writing.
2. Get an appraisal
3. Force them to condemn it