The terms Condemnation and Eminent Domain go hand in hand, but are not synonymous. Eminent Domain is the power of the state or government to take private property for public use with payment of just compensation to the landowner (which can be delegated to private companies in certain circumstances). Condemnation is the legal act of condemning or proceeding to acquire the title or right to take the subject property by way of Eminent Domain. Condemnation is the actual legal process of implementing Eminent Domain rights whereby the government or private corporation (with government approval) takes private property for public use without the permission of the landowner.
Under Condemnation law, a government entity or private corporation must pay “just compensation” or “fair market value” for the land or rights taken. Condemnation actions may be filed in state or federal courts and potentially involve complex legal issues. In the natural gas pipeline easement arena, private gas or pipeline companies may ultimately bring Condemnation proceedings against a private landowner in very limited circumstances. One example of a Pipeline Company’s ability to obtain Eminent Domain and ultimately file Condemnation proceedings is through application for a Certificate of Public Convenience through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Any landowner approached for a “FERC Project” should not simply sign a proposed agreement out of fear, but should immediately contact an experienced eminent domain attorney to learn their rights and options.
Remember, Pennsylvania Law does NOT give gas and pipeline companies the power to invoke Eminent Domain to install natural gas pipelines for gathering lines. Eminent Domain and Condemnation authority for natural gas pipelines in Pennsylvania is very limited and landowners must not be misled into believing that a pipeline company may obtain Eminent Domain and Condemnation authority.
Attorney Doug Clark is Pennsylvania’s Landowner Lawyer and has represented hundreds of Pennsylvania landowners in pipeline negotiations and in many cases involving the threat of Eminent Domain and Condemnation. Learn your rights and options before it is too late to effectively negotiate a Pipeline Agreement or challenge potential Eminent Domain authority. Contact us today! We are working hard to protect Pennsylvania Landowners.