The Wilkes Bare Citizen Voice recently published an editorial titled, Pipelines and property rights, that was spot on. Pipeline infrastructure is critical to ensure the safe transport of critical resources from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale to consumers for use. Because pipelines provide necessary energy resources for the public’s use, pipelines are able to run through property using eminent domain because of “public use.”
Whenever a company is looking to build a pipeline, using eminent domain powers is always the last resort. Pipeline companies are always obligated to pay property owners fair market value for the property needed to build a pipeline. In fact, landowners earn greater sums when they do not force companies to use eminent domain in order to secure the property needed, let alone the increased costs incurred in lawyer and court costs.
As The Citizen’s Voice said, “in the case of roads and other infrastructure designed to provide general services and security or to ease traffic and commerce, eminent domain is on firm ground. A gas pipeline surely fits into that category. Whatever one thinks of the Marcellus shale industry and its regulation by government, we have lived with gas pipelines in our region for more than half a century with little notice or consequence. A network of gas lines runs beneath most of our neighborhoods and provides energy that is cleaner, more cost-effective and more convenient than most systems, as anyone who lived in Wyoming Valley in the day of coal furnaces can attest. The new network of pipelines linking the Marcellus Shale gas wells to other parts of the state and the northeast promises to fuel robust economic growth well beyond the gas industry.”