Federal Eminent Domain Blog
Will The Piedmont Pipeline Move Forward in Davidson County, Tennessee
But Peebles said that in addition to safety and capacity, the new pipeline allows for a greater diversity in gas shipments from suppliers.
Reducing the pressure on the existing line also reduces the risk of an accident, and the current pipeline will continue to get regular inspections, he said.
Upgrading the existing line to allow more modern, in-line inspection methods would have been expensive and a “tremendous inconvenience to people in Davidson County,” Peebles said.
Holleman, representing the property owners, said the landowners are not challenging the fact that as a utility Piedmont has the power of eminent domain.
Rather, the pipeline does not meet the definition of a public use, he said. Piedmont could upgrade its existing pipeline and still meet federal safety regulations, he argued.
In addition, Holleman said that federal law does not specify that an in-line inspection method must be used to ensure pipeline integrity. There are a host of other methods, he told the judge.
Piedmont also does not yet have all of the needed permits to build the pipeline, and Holleman argued that allowing the company to acquire the land is premature. If the company does not get the needed permits, the land would be condemned for no reason, he said.
One finds it interesting that Piedmont makes its claim that it needs a new pipeline in order to alleviate problems with an old pipeline as well as to verify whether the pipeline is endangering adjacent owners. The easement necessary for such a pipeline already exists. Separate and apart from that, utilities have a right, within limitations, to build new replacements or corollary utilities nearby.
On the other hand, acquiring 175 out of 214 properties voluntarily puts those who want to protect their basic Constitutional rights in the position of being "holdouts" to a utility which has never obtained the right to acquire!
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