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Author Topic: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!  (Read 9418 times)

Bazil

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Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« on: December 12, 2014, 11:34:48 pm »

So a few of you on here may have heard of the gas pipeline that was slated to go through MA.  Well this week they made their plan to move the pipeline to NH official!  They will keep mostly within a PSNH electrical easement.  However they plan to "acquire" the rights to 821 properties in NH outside of that for the main pipe and it's laterals.  Tuesday I looked at their map and discovered that my property is one of them.  I moved to this place for the forest, seclusion and privacy.  When I had bought this property I planned to stay here for the rest of my life for the reasons I listed.  However they plan to bisect my lot with the lateral leading to Fitchburg MA to supply it with natural gas.  They'd like to cut down my woods on the north and south sides of my lot and lay the pipe right behind my house through my back yard.   It would create a permanently open thoroughfare going through my back yard, which people would ride up and down with ATVs ect... as well as removing the forest which I go out and enjoy every single day that I can.  This would basically destroy the best aspects of my lot and the main reasons I bought it.  Not to mention the effect it would have on my insurance, property value and the danger of having a high pressure gas pipe 100 feet from my house.

So as you might be able to gather I'm not exactly open to giving them the rights to plop a pipe in my property.  Since I highly doubt Kinder Morgan would be willing to meet the high price it would cost to remove me amicably this brings us to the subject of eminent domain.  They have publicly stated they are willing to use it to acquire the rights to any properties they need to when the landowners resist.  As a liberty leaning person this idea and the fact that I'm in the gun sights of it really rankles me.  Not only do I not think the government shouldn't have such a power to begin with, I think the provision in the constitution that allows for it doesn't allow companies to use the government as a tool for them to take property!  Of course we know that hasn't been the interpretation of it in the courts.  

Now there is the new(ish) NH constitutional provision (Article 12a) that is supposed to prevent just such taking of property.  However I think it's worded incorrectly to actually protect anyone and the lawyers will be able to wheedle around it.  This is the wording for those who haven't read it yet:  "No part of a person's property shall be taken by eminent domain and transferred, directly or indirectly, to another person if the taking is for the purpose of private development or other private use of the property."  The words "person" and "private" really shoot this one in the foot.  Since giant companies are generally "public" and always argue in court what they do is for the "public good." Basically it seems to me any lawyer worth half his/her salt could argue that any person could have the government take his/her neighbor's property and transfer it to him/her because he/her had some public use for it.  Or, and this is the key here, that any "public" entity could use the government to take property for any reason public or not.

Now personally I think that the pipe would be for a private purpose (Kinder Morgan's profit) and that they aren't "public" (they are not a part of the government).  So anyway, yeah I'm in a predicament.  I'm hoping that I and the other people directly effected will be able to convince them to move things around a bit (there are preexisting public ROWs running parallel that could serve the purpose).  What do people think about this kind of stuff happening, in NH of all places?  Also does anyone have any suggestions/help/ideas on what can be done?  Thanks
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 08:54:44 am by Bazil »
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freedomroad

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 01:46:39 am »

Rumor is there is a LSR because of this. It makes the legislature have to approve such ED takings. Overall, this pipeline would be extremely good for NH. I oppose the use of ED for the pipeline, though. I hope everyone sells because this is so very good for NH. ED has been used in the Keystone Pipeline. Sad :(
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Bazil

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2014, 08:30:34 am »

I'm not opposed to the pipeline since it will lower energy costs.  However I am opposed to the government being used as a tool for the taking my and other people's properties for the purpose.  Besides the fact that the part that will go through my property won't have any direct or indirect benefit to me or anyone else in NH since it will be used to feed NG to Fitchburg MA.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 08:46:16 am by Bazil »
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Terence

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2014, 12:15:47 pm »


This would be a windfall for 821 property owners if it truly was a private corporation. That's why
Disney kept their intentions for the land in Florida secret: To keep the prices down for all the lots
they had to purchase and aggregate for what was to become Disneyworld.

If the pipeline will be so good for NH then why not start at fair market value and add
a premium hassle fee paid to all the owners as an incentive to sell? If something like that
doesn't happen it would show that it's Kinder Morgan that doesn't care that it's good for NH but the property owners
will be forced into "caring".  In other words, the whole thing is really about Kinder Morgan using it's leverage
to keep the purchase price down.
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JasonPSorens

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2014, 01:06:48 pm »

ED obviously should not be allowed ever. There are ways to deal with the holdout problem without using it, as the example of Disneyworld indicates.

Unfortunately, the use of ED for rights-of-way for utility pipelines is well-established in law in all 50 states. I don't think you'll be able to fight this legally. Before the pipeline route is finalized, you could try to lobby for a change of course. Another possibility is to put your forest into a conservation easement. My understanding is that some kinds of easements can't be broken by ED.
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Bazil

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2014, 04:49:56 pm »

Well the only other way they could go without a large change is behind my property, which ironically is already in a conservation easement.  Another issue with that the last few years is I've been planting a state protected plant in the woods on my property.  The plant is considered "wild" due to where and how it was planted, so conservation laws apply.  I was planning on starting to sell it in a few years (it's not on the endangered species list yet, though it's trade is regulated).  If I put my property into a conservation easement all that work would go to waste because I would be unable to pick the plants anymore.  Then again if they take out all the trees and dig everything up it'll be dead anyway.  Though I do believe it'd be illegal to do that unless they took my property via eminent domain rather than using eminent domain to just get and easement and access to my property.  Hopefully it never comes down to that.
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tele_mark

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2014, 01:02:59 am »

Bazil -- do you have a link to that map you mentioned in your first post? I'm in New Ipswich, and the best map I could find on their web site for the "Northeast Energy Direct Project" just shows resolution to the county level. 
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Bazil

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 03:15:08 pm »

Here's a link.  You'll have to hunt through them to find what you're looking for.  This is the filing by Kinder Morgan to the FERC.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2014, 05:36:38 pm by Bazil »
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Jacobus

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2014, 08:10:26 am »

I'm sorry to hear the proposed route cuts through your property.

I sent off comments of opposition to FERC and the local state house reps.  To leave a comment with FERC, go here:

https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx

You enter your contact info and then submit a request to comment.  You'll get a link in e-mail to leave a comment.  In the link, enter PF14-22 in the Docket field, and search/select it.

Here are the comments I left:

I am a homeowner in Mason, NH.  I oppose the use of eminent domain to construct the proposed gas pipeline through our town.  Many people in our town move here to be responsible stewards of the land and to live in a peaceful, rural environment.  The proposed pipeline would aggress upon both our rights as property owners and our values as land stewards.

Please find a way to build your pipeline using rights of way that do not infringe upon our rights and values.     
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Bazil

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2014, 08:49:17 pm »

Thanks Jacobus, union hacks seem to be the primary posters at ferc.  Generally saying "They'll use pure union jobs I support NED!"  Eminent domain always bothered me in the past, but now that my property is directly in the gun sights of it, puts it all in perspective for me.  It feels like government sanctioned rape.  Like they'll take my kidney's for the "greater good of society" and in turn give me one month of free dialysis!  I'll tell yah, if I wasn't already libertarian before this experience I would be afterwards.  I encourage anyone who's a state rep on here to propose legislation that will stop this sort of government approved rape of people's rights!
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Bazil

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Re: Kinder Morgan gas pipeline and eminent domain!
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 08:25:14 pm »

We had a big town meeting regarding this pipeline.  Doesn't seem anyone in town (including myself) is willing to give up any of their land to Kinder Morgan.  When the board of selectmen was asked what they could do, the chairman threw out some ideas and said, not so tongue and cheek, "as a last resort we could always invoke article 10 of the NH constitution" and then clarified for those who didn't know it was the right to revolution.  Now I don't think it would happen, however I'm glad to see the town government appreciates people's freedom enough to suggest it.
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