News reports and prominent political activists have recently focused on the Keystone XL Pipeline and more recently the Dakota Access Pipeline. While these projects are stalling out, new pipeline construction is booming across the country.
Activists here in Georgia are protesting local pipeline construction for the same reasons: private property rights and environmental impacts.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Legislature put a halt to new pipeline construction after the energy company Kinder Morgan announced plans to build a pipeline through the state. Lawmakers said further study was needed to ensure the state’s eminent domain power was exercised in a responsible manner before any property was seized.
Federal Law May Trump State Law
However, the federal Natural Gas Act and other federal regulations may allow energy companies like Kinder Morgan to go over the heads of state lawmakers and seize the land they need. Federal appeals courts have largely agreed that federal law supersedes state laws limiting eminent domain powers.
This means that energy companies may look to the federal government for help using eminent domain to condemn and develop properties that they need.
What You Can Do
If your property is at risk of being seized through the state or federal government’s eminent domain powers, you have the right to compensation. Many times the government offers a dollar figure far lower than what you think your property is worth. It is easy for bureaucrats to forget just how important your home is to you. It is worth so much more than money.
If you believe your property is at risk, you should contact an attorney who is experienced in land usage and eminent domain disputes. A lawyer can inform you of your rights and help you seek the compensation that you deserve or fight to protect your property from seizure.