Additional Suits Filed By Pipeline In Cumberland And Prince Edward

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (ACP) has filed two civil lawsuits against landowners in Cumberland and Prince Edward seeking to gain access to property to survey for a proposed 42-inch natural gas pipeline.

According to the Cumberland and Prince Edward circuit court clerk’s offices and the Virginia Courts Case Information System, the ACP has filed a civil suit against Christopher M. and Kathleen M. Register in Prince Edward Circuit Court and a separate suit against William Otto Carroll, Peggy Noel Bouchard and William Otto Carroll Revocable Trust in Cumberland Circuit Court.

“This pipeline is not for public use’” said the Registers, who live in Rice, in a statement to The Herald responding to the suit, “and it puts the burden of ‘in the general interest’ on the shoulders of a handful of landowners who will still pay property taxes at the same rate as when they controlled their property, and all for the benefit of a corporation who intends to make considerable profit on the backs of these homeowners. There is no guarantee that this energy will stay in the state or in the country for that matter.”

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The suits were filed earlier this month. The landowners are in the path of the current proposed route, said Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle, who confirmed the suits in the two counties.

“We will fight it till the very end,” said Bouchard in response to the suit.

The Registers believe the 2004 statute allowing energy companies to survey property without the permission of the owner is unconstitutional “and flies in the face of traditional and well-accepted beliefs about the rights of property owners in the Commonwealth.”

Dominion, the lead partner of the proposed 550-mile natural gas pipeline project, is seeking federal approval to construct a 42-inch pipe through Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward in addition to building a compressor station that would have more than 40,000 horsepower in Buckingham, where there are currently seven active civil lawsuits initiated by the ACP.

“This entire situation drove us from even considering allowing access for surveying to denying it,” the Registers said. “We no longer trust any of their information or assurances from Dominion/ACP … Our firm belief is that to permit the survey would be neglecting the responsibility we took on as owners of this property.”