Federal judge rules pipeline can cross holdout properties in Pennsylvania

A federal judge has ruled that the company building a 124-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from the Marcellus shale play to New York can build across seven Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to provide access to their land, reports Farm and Dairy. In Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC v. A Permanent Easement for 1.84 Acres, M.D. Pa. Case No. 3:14-cv-02458-MEM, Judge Malachy Mannion of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that Constitution Pipeline Company (“Constitution”) has the right of “immediate entry and access onto the subject property” because, among other things, it possesses a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Court further held that: (i) Constitution “has a substantive right to condemn the subject property”; (ii) Constitution “will suffer immediate and irreparable harm” without immediate possession of the property; (iii) the landowners “will receive just compensation” and, thus, “will not suffer significant harm”; and (iv) “the public interest will be best served” by granting Constitution access to the properties. Constitution was ordered to post a $1.6 million bond prior to accessing the properties.

Oil & Gas Litigation, Pennsylvania