As the dust settles on their victory, the coalition of activists and community members that opposed the Byhalia Connection oil pipeline in greater Memphis, Tennessee — which developers officially canceled on July 2 — are continuing to mobilize, because they say a risk to the land, water, climate and community remains. In step with the cancellation, Plains All American Pipeline has requested state and federal agencies to revoke necessary permits for the Byhalia Connection — what would have been a 49-mile route connecting a refinery in Memphis to an oil terminal in northern Mississippi, running through a series of majority-Black neighborhoods in Tennessee. The pipeline was a joint venture between Plains and Valero Energy Corporation.
A recent federal court ruling could give states more authority to oppose natural gas pipeline projects by limiting the controversial use of eminent domain—the mandatory sale of private or state-owned land for public use. That ruling and two others involving eminent domain come amid growing opposition to pipeline projects, whose benefits to the public and risks to the environment and climate are increasingly being questioned. As the Trump administration tries to clear the way for more fossil fuel pipeline construction...
Ranson, W.Va.–The Jefferson County Board of Education will no longer pursue condemnation of Rockwool’s property to build a educational center to provide services for student with special needs. The school board abandoned its bid to obtain the Rockwool site via eminent domain in a settlement agreement announced today by the two parties. Rockwool in turn dropped its lawsuit against the Board of Education which sought to block the condemnation. The Board of Education proposed to build a Regional Student Support Center on the Rockwool site across from North Jefferson Elementary to provide services for special needs students.
On Tuesday, July 26, Sunoco Pipeline L.P. filed paperwork with a Pennsylvania court claiming that retired special education teacher Ellen Gerhart, 63, had violated an injunction. Three days later, Gerhart was arrested and jailed. After being held on $25,000 bail for a week, Ellen Gerhart was on Friday, August 3 sentenced to two to six months by Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge George Zanic. Sunoco Pipeline obtained a right of way through the Gerharts’ land using the controversial legal doctrine of eminent domain, which allows private companies to seize land people refuse to sell that’s in the planned path of a pipeline project.
By Staff of Americans for Personal Property, Energy, & Landowners - Representatives of energy giant Dominion Resources were caught off guard this week by landowners outraged over the company’s threatened use of eminent domain in the construction of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Bruce McKay, Senior Energy Policy Director of Dominion, struggled to explain the utility’s position to an increasingly skeptical audience during a panel at the Republican Party of Virginia Advance in Richmond Dec. 10. Dominion thought they had the deck stacked in their favor. They didn’t expect Virginia property owners directly affected by the pipeline to show up, advocating for their rights.
By Larry Buhl for Desmog Blog. New and protracted battles in the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) war are breaking out across Pennsylvania and other states near the Marcellus Shale over pipeline companies’ use of eminent domain. The fiercest battle pits Philadelphia-based Sunoco Logistics against homeowners in the path of a pipeline that crosses Pennsylvania. In a controversial move invoking eminent domain, Sunoco aims to seize private lands to make room for a pipeline extension that would move highly volatile liquids (HVL) used in the making of plastics from the Marcellus Shale region to eastern Pennsylvania. With an air of inevitability, opponents say, Sunoco is planning to move ahead with Mariner East II, a retrofit and extension of an existing east-west pipeline that was once used to ship gasoline westward from Philadelphia’s refineries.
By Mark Hand for DC Media Group - Private property rights activists and environmentalists met in Georgia June 14-15 to discuss strategies for fighting energy companies’ growing use of eminent domain to build natural gas, oil and petroleum products pipelines on private property across the United States. Many of the approximately 70 people who gathered in downtown Atlanta at the invitation-only conference came away hopeful that philanthropic organizations and other donors will choose to invest in a national organization as well as grassroots groups seeking to slow down or stop pipeline companies’ growing reliance on eminent domain.
By Reid Frazier for The Allegheny Front - As the chain saws revved nearby, Elise Gerhart was literally up a tree Tuesday protesting a pipeline slated to course through her family’s wooded property. Gerhart, 29, of Huntingdon, and about 20 protesters coalesced around the Gerhart property as a work crew—chaperoned by local sheriff’s officers—took down trees along the property. Two protesters were arrested as the work crews cleared land for Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 pipeline, which will carry natural gas liquids from Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia area.
By John Zangas of DC Media Group. New Milford, PA - The land of the free got a little smaller this week when cutters from Williams Partners Company began clear-cutting trees on the Zeffer-Holleran property, readying it for construction of the Constitution pipeline. Five acres of the property were condemned under eminent domain to build the natural gas pipeline. A dozen Pennsylvania State police and heavily armed U.S. Marshals escorted scores of tree cutters to remove hundreds of sugar bush maple trees from the property. The Marshals carried AR-15 assault weapons and wore bullet proof vests. But when the cutters began tree removal they encountered trees with U.S. flags activists had painted on them. Activists stood out of the way during the cutting but held large signs spelling “People Not Pipelines.”
By Michael Polhamus for Battleboro Reformer - MONKTON, VT - Protesters shut down an eminent domain hearing Wednesday in Monkton's Volunteer Fire Department Hall. The demonstration delayed what was to be the first of three hearings to be held by the Public Service Board as part of eminent domain proceedings for three private properties. Vermont Gas has permission from 98 percent of landowners to build a pipeline through Addison County. The company, a subsidiary of Montreal-based Gaz Metro, has constructed a section in Chittenden County and plans to lay another 30 miles of pipeline from Williston to Middlebury.
Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation has decided to pick a fight he can’t win. He just published an article personally attacking anti-toll group leaders across the nation, and he had a extra special below-the-belt attack saved just for yours truly. He’s responding to the populist anti-toll revolt taking place in America, and he can’t help but go on the attack because these grassroots efforts are finally making progress. He’s lashing out in response to a 5-page cover story in the Weekly Standard that slammed the new rage among transportation think tanks like Reason, called HOT lanes. It stands for High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes. Sometimes they convert existing HOV lanes into toll lanes, other times they’re new lanes but only open to carpoolers and those who pay tolls. The author, Jonathan Last, used many of the same terms to describe this wrong-headed policy as the anti-toll groups do – government picking winners and losers, crony capitalism, privatized profits, socialized losses, Lexus lanes, etc. If the shoes fits, and it does, it’s not hard for liberty-minded people to come to the same conclusions all by themselves. They can spot a scam when they see one. But Poole asks, ‘Where do these ideas come from?’ Or more to his point, who is promoting ideas in opposition to his libertarian ivory tower theory-world of road pricing? His answer is a nasty attack on grassroots advocates attempting to save the middle class from the biggest, most expensive tax grab in our lifetimes. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered Poole or the Reason Foundation. I ran into Poole in the halls of the Texas Capitol when our anti-toll group, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF), was asking legislators to sign onto a public private partnership (P3) moratorium in 2007. I’d enter a legislator’s office and there he was lobbying lawmakers to support P3s and disregard the public outcry. The original moratorium passed with a vote of 169-5. It’s been a rough road for P3s in Texas ever since, and it’s about to get rougher.
Once upon a time, financing the purchase of a home with a mortgage loan, compared to today, was much simpler. After saving the customary 20% down payment, the borrower would meet with the local banker for a long-term, fixed-rate loan. Once income and character were investigated, qualified and then approved, the borrower signed a mortgage note, and gave a mortgage in exchange for a loan. A mortgage note is the personal promise to repay a loan. A mortgage (lien) collateralizes or secures the mortgage note. Foreclosure can force the sale of the collateral (home) to repay the debt. It was at the same local bank where the borrower made monthly loan payments for the life of the loan. If and when the borrower had a problem making a scheduled payment due to an unexpected expense or temporary hardship it wasn’t necessarily an earthshaking event.