FERC's CONDITIONAL Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
Last week, the FERC issued a CONDITIONAL certificate of public convenience and necessity. The Daily Star INCORRECTLY stated that this “gives the Constitution Pipeline the power of eminent domain, which allows it to force landowners along the route to accept the pipeline's path through their property.”
THIS IS WRONG. IT DOES NOT GRANT ACCESS.
The pipeline company will try to convince you otherwise. However, just because they - or their lawyers - say something, does not mean it is true.
We have published a list all of the conditions that must be met before construction can begin.
What Landowners CAN and SHOULD Be Doing
Many of the conditions FERC requires are under landowners' control. If you continue to deny access, they cannot be completed, and therefore construction CANNOT start.
- You should post no trespassing signs if you have refused access to the "Constitution" pipeline company, and you don't want them on your land
- You have the right to exclude people from your property until a court orders otherwise. This has not yet happened, despite what the Daily Star says
- If you have streams, wetlands, or endangered species on your property, the pipeline company must have to have access to your property in order to start construction. AND THEY DO NOT HAVE ACCESS unless you( or a court ) grant it. DENY ACCESS!
PELC Files CEASE and DESIST LETTER
Late last week, many landowners received a threatening (and inaccurate) letter from Ms. Witmer of Saul Ewing. Constitution is threatening to seize land through eminent domain unless owners sign easement agreements. The letters include language which infers that Constitution has the right to enter private property within 10 days “for the purpose of making surveys, test pits, bore holes or other investigations.”
This is not true. The pipeline company cannot get on your land until they file a lawsuit and landowners are personally "served" a notice of the eminent domain proceedings. Personal service means a person hired by the pipeline company has to hand an owner of the property an envelope. This cannot be done by Federal Express or a mailman.
We do not believe that eminent domain proceedings can take place until the conditions in FERC's certificate have been met.
The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic (PELC) sent a cease and desist letter last Friday (12/5) to the law firm that appears to be handling the eminent domain proceedings for the Constitution pipeline company.
Please help us spread the word that THE FIGHT HAS JUST BEGUN!
Many landowners are now feeling helpless in the face of the intimidation tactics contained in the letter. This letter is just another example of the company’s bullying tactics.
STOP THE PIPELINE!
In the Media
There have been a lot of news stories about FERC's decision.
Attention is now shifting from Washington to Albany, as people wonder what Cuomo and the DEC are going to do. NYS has to issue a 401 water quality certificate in order for this project to proceed.
The AP (Associated Press) also picked up the story of the offensive “Saul Ewing” letter that pressures landowners into waiving their property rights. Now, readers of dozens of news and media outlets around the United States are witness to the strong-arm bully tactics of Constitution Pipeline.
Here are a few additional articles:
1. Opponents preparing to contest federal approval of gas pipeline Brian Nearing, Times Union Published 6:55 pm, Thursday, December 4, 2014 http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/OK-won-t-halt-fight-5936017.php
2. Pipeline developer turns on pressure
Brian Nearin, Times Union
Published 11:14 pm, Friday, December 5, 2014 http://www.timesunion.com/business/article/Pipeline-developer-turns-on-pressure-5939036.php
3. Pipeline opponents target permit for compressor station By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014 6:00 am http://www.thedailystar.com/news/local_news/pipeline-opponents-target-permit-for-compressor-station/article_1acf64c4-d5d3-5f06-aeb1-7807aa706c59.html
4. Feds give final nod to Constitution pipeline Brendan Gibbons, Staff Writer
Published: December 4, 2014
5. Constitution Pipeline Approved by FERC Written By Editor, Schoharie News on 12/3/14 http://www.theschoharienews.com/2014/12/breaking-news-constitution-pipeline.html