Time for Landowners to Consider Obtaining Legal Representation

waldolyleWe received a call on Saturday, the first day people along the path of the MVP began receiving certified letters for surveying, asking when would be the appropriate time for landowners to seek legal representation.  I contacted Joe Sherman at Waldo & Lyle, PC .  Mr. Sherman told me that if you wish to prevent MVP surveyors from entering your property, now is the best time to obtain legal counsel.  If you are their client, they will send a certified letter to MVP notifying them, on your behalf, that you will not allow MVP representatives to enter your property without a court order.  When the Notice of Intent Letter is sent from MVP (the 2nd phase under Virginia Code Section 56-49.01), they will send a second certified letter again stating the same thing.  If MVP is forced to use a court order to obtain access to your property, this will compel the company to use the legal system which will then create a challenge to the constitutionality of the current state statute.  The attorneys at Waldo & Lyle believe that the law permitting the gas companies to survey your property is unconstitutional given (1) the ballot initiative that Virginia voters overwhelmingly approved in 2012 which placed firm restrictions on eminent domain and (2) the fact that these companies are trying to pick and choose between federal and state laws depending on what is most convenient/expedient for them.

Waldo & Lyle will represent, pro bono, any landowner who has received a certified letter from MVP and does not wish to permit surveying.  Joe Sherman asked me to let you know that he is happy to talk with any and all of you who want to know more about this process.  You can contact Mr. Sherman at 757-622-5812 or via email at jvs@waldoandlyle.com.  Property rights is the firm’s area of expertise and they will talk to you free of charge so you have nothing to lose by contacting them to determine the best course of action for you and your family.

Obviously it is your choice as a landowner if you wish to be represented by legal counsel and your decision as to whom you wish to represent you.  We strongly encourage you, however, to investigate obtaining legal representation in order to protect your personal interests.

Navigating FERC Scoping Meetings

ferc_scoping_meetingAs all of you know, the FERC scoping meetings for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline are upon us. We cannot say strongly enough how important your presence is at these meetings. Whether or not you wish to address the FERC at the meeting, we need to clearly show them that this is an issue that all of us in the region care about.  The Mountain Valley Pipeline, if approved, will impact all of us regardless whether or not it actually crosses our personal property. Remember that the MVP is only the first of several proposed pipeline projects for our region. Even if this one does not cross your property, the next one might. Please attend one or more meetings to show support to your neighbors and our region as a whole. We realize that these meetings are not conveniently located (which seems to be by design to limit our participation) and that it will require time that many of us have very little of right now. Please make the sacrifice and attend. Our strength is in our numbers and in our unity. The three meetings to be held this week are:

  • Monday, May 4th @ James Monroe High School located on Route 1 in Lindside, WV
  • Tuesday, May 5th @ Eastern Montgomery High School located at 4695 Crozier Road in Elliston, VA
    • An important note about this meeting — if you are traveling on Interstate 81 southbound toward Elliston, your GPS will likely suggest you take Exit 128 — do NOT take this exit — the road you need to use to get to the high school from Exit 128 is closed for construction – take either Exit 132 or Exit 118 to get to Eastern Montgomery High School.
  • Thursday, May 7th @ Chatham High School located at 100 Cavalier Circle in Chatham, VA

All of the meetings begin at 7 p.m. and FERC will allow speakers to sign up beginning at 6 p.m.  We encourage you to arrive as early as the school will allow you to enter the property so that you can secure your place in line if you wish to speak.  For the Elliston meeting, for example, we have been told that we can enter school property beginning at 4:30 p.m.  Each venue will likely allow you to enter at different times so we encourage you to check with the location(s) you plan to attend.

Since most of us have never participated in a scoping meeting before, we did some research on how to best navigate a scoping meeting.  You can access it at: http://preservethenrv.com/docs/navigating_scoping_meetings.pdf. Please feel free to share the URL to the document widely.