Clean Air Council v Sunoco Pipeline

An April 30, 2018  decision of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rejected six of seven claims against Sunoco re environmental harms and eminent domain overreach. One claim, based on the Environmental Rights Amendment, was directed to further consideration by the Commonwealth Court.

Read the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decision here.

By |May 31st, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

Boy Scout Award

Mike Faherty was provided the “Ideal Scout” award by the Lancaster Council of Boy Scouts. Mike an Eagle Scout and former Boy Scout employee, provided pro bono services to the Scouts when a scout camp was threatened by eminent domain. Mike was able to decrease the land acquired and increase compensation.

By |May 29th, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, In the News, Property Rights|

$5,000,000 Increase From Turnpike

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission condemned 70.9 acres through a 240 acre sportsman’s club. The Turnpike paid $1,750,000 for property damages and no funds for relocation damages. Faherty Law Firm provided representation and obtained a settelement  for an additional $5,000,000 in total damages.
Turnpike buys gun club land near near McDonald for $5 million
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has acquired a key piece of property to allow the construction of an interchange on the Southern Beltway — and protect the safety of motorists.

But it came at a hefty price: $5 million.

That’s the amount the commission agreed to pay last week to buy 70.9 acres of land from the McDonald Sportsmen’s Association, leaving the association 168.4 acres of property off of Cooks Road between McDonald and Midway, Washington County.

The commission needs the land to build interchange 11 on the $800 million, 13-mile toll road that will link Route 22 to Interstate 79 on the Allegheny-Washington County border. That interchange will be on the northeast […]

By |May 10th, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, In the News, Transportation|

Deferring Taxes On Eminent Domain Payments

DEFERRING TAXES ON §1033 EXCHANGES
Eminent domain lawyers work hard to secure just compensation for property owners. However, in gain situations, the IRS and most states want their share, too. Fortunately, solutions are available that seek to soften or eliminate the tax bite. When property is involuntarily converted, I.R.C. §1033 provides guidelines to defer capital gains and other taxes. Known as a “1033 exchange”, the code allows for non-recognition status if the proceeds are invested in similar property within 2 years after the close of the first taxable year in which any part of the gain is realized. Similar generally means property that is “similar or related in service or use” to the property so converted, terms that the IRS narrowly defines. Note that this period is extended to 3 years for condemnations of investment property, and more liberal “like-kind” rules apply to replacement property. The longer exchange period provides ample opportunity for tax planning. If properly structured, property owners can […]

By |April 15th, 2018|Categories: Eminent domain, Property Rights|

Delaware Riverkeeper Decision

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has ruled for Sunoco Pipeline in the matter of Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. Sunoco Pipeline, No. 952 C.D. 2017 (Feb. 20, 2018). The court reasoned that a township lacks zoning authority to prohibit a pipeline facility regulated by the Pennsylvania PUC.

By |April 8th, 2018|Categories: In the News, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

Transource and Public Need

Pennsylvania law allows public utility corporations to use eminent domain power when the proposed use is “for the public”. If the proposed use is for the corporation and the public, Pennsylvania law looks to who is the primary and paramount beneficiary. If it is the corporation, Pennsylvania law precludes eminent domain power.
Transource sues landowners for access to properties where power lines are proposed
Transource Energy has sued 24 landowners, asking a Franklin County, Pa., judge to allow the public utility’s representatives to access properties to perform studies, tests and surveys as it proceeds with plans for 29 miles of overhead electric-transmission lines.

The company, through a subsidiary, requested in court documents immediate right of entry onto defendants’ properties. It claims landowners are prohibiting access despite “numerous contacts” since October.

“As a Pennsylvania public utility, Transource Pennsylvania has the power of eminent domain pursuant to the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law of 1988,” lawyers said in filings.

Transource Pennsylvania made its filings a week ago at […]

By |March 15th, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, Electric Transmission, Eminent domain, Property Rights|

Mariner East 1 Shut Down

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Corporation, Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, issued a report requesting an emergency order to stop the use of Mariner East 1 for transportation of explosive natural gas ligquids. The well grounded safety concerns compelled the PUC Chairman to stop the transportation of the hazardous liquids. Inspections and monitoring will follow.
PUC shuts down Mariner East 1 pipeline, citing public safety concerns raised by sinkholes
Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission on Wednesday ordered a temporary shutdown of the Mariner East 1 natural gas liquids pipeline, saying it could have a “catastrophic” effect on public safety if it leaks.

PUC Chairman Gladys Brown approved a request by the commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement for an emergency order that would halt operation of the line until inspectors are satisfied that it meets safety standards.

The panel, in a petition issued earlier Wednesday, argued that the pipeline had been exposed by the appearance of sinkholes near the construction of two other pipelines – Mariner […]

By |March 13th, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

PennEast and Eminent Domain

Eminent domain power is available only for a public use with the need for certain property rights. Public use and the need are two issues raised in a county suit to protect property rights.
Northampton County challenging PennEast on eminent domain
Northampton County wants a jury to decide whether publicly protected open space should be disturbed by the proposed PennEast Pipeline.

The county is one of dozens of landowners in Northampton and Upper Bucks counties targeted by the consortium of energy companies for property acquisition through eminent domain.

These properties are part of the proposed route for the 36-inch-diameter natural gas line connecting Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region 120 miles southeast to Mercer County, New Jersey.

PennEast opened eminent domain proceedings, suing property owners in federal court after efforts failed to purchase land for the route.

Federal regulators approved the $1 billion pipeline Jan. 19, conditioned on PennEast securing other necessary approvals.

The county disputes PennEast’s power to condemn publicly preserved open space through eminent domain. The parcels […]

By |March 12th, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

Mariner East Additional Easements

The Sunoco Pipeline Mariner East 2 pipeline construction as resulted in many spills and permit violations. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection warned Sunoco Pipeline and then suspended construction. Later, the DEP agreed to allow the restart of construction via a $8,600,000 fine. Faherty Law Firm had negotiated temporary construction easement down from 36 months to 18 months. Now, Sunoco seeks an extension of the temporary construction easements to complete required work. Property owners are not obligated to sell the extension of the prior easements. Faherty Law Firm represents property owners threatened by additional property rights requests from Sunoco Pipeline.

By |March 9th, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|

Protect Our Pennsylvania

A new volunteer organization is working to protect private property rights in Pennsylvania. Join in this admirable cause via ProtectOurPA@gmail.com.
Pennsylvania Landowners Coalition Fighting to Restrict Eminent Domain for NatGas Pipelines
A new coalition formed by landowners in Pennsylvania wants to strengthen private property rights and lobby lawmakers to limit the use of eminent domain by natural gas pipeline companies working across the state.

Protect Our Pennsylvania organized its first rally at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday. It issued an invitation to supporters on social media, indicating the rally would be a public meeting to strengthen its mission of “individual rights to private property and public safety over statewide abuse of eminent domain.”

The coalition cited landowners’ struggles with Sunoco Logistics Partners LP’s Mariner East (ME) 2 pipeline and said it wants eminent domain to be applied more narrowly as more midstream companies work to build-out infrastructure to serve Marcellus and Utica shale production.

The 350-mile ME 2 would transport ethane, butane and […]

By |March 7th, 2018|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights|