When’s a venture to pipeline fossil fuel to export terminals bound for global markets a public utility? Should multinationals like Sunoco or Williams Partners be permitted to use eminent domain to these ends? No. Sunoco was denied eminent domain because a pipeline carrier isn’t a public utility.
Williams Partners claims that’s irrelevant to their planned Atlantic Sunrise expansion of the Transco because Williams Partners isn’t governed by the Interstate Commerce Act, but by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which “has no jurisdiction over pipeline safety or security,” and never denies a permit application.
Just as Sunoco exports to be profitable, so too does Williams Partners. Selling natural gas to locals doesn’t cut it. Exporting to whoever will pay the most for it does. Williams Partners wants the right to use eminent domain so it can steal what you refuse to forfeit. “American,” “energy security” and “cheap” — that’s just hornswoggle to get you to sign away your property to a multinational masquerading as your neighbor. Don’t.
Michael Faherty, attorney to landowners: “Landowners need to be wary about these companies that come looking to acquire land. They don’t have an obligation to be telling the truth.”
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And there you have it. Why would you sign a contract with a company that will use eminent domain to get what it wants? Whose product is extracted at immense cost to your property value? When Williams Partners comes a knockin’, say no. When they say they’ll be back, get a lawyer and go talk to your neighbors — now.
The writer is with the Shale Justice Coalition.