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Hearsay Evidence

A recent Commonwealth Court decision reaffirmed the opportunity for a property valuation witness to rely upon hearsay evidence in forming an opinion of property value. In re Condemnation by Turnpike Commission, No. 1131 C.D. 2017 (April 10,2018) a property owner appraiser relied upon an affidavit of a neighbor about the property owners ability to obtain a driveway easement. The affadavit was relied upon in support of a highest or best use for hotel development. The decision cited 26 Pa. C.S.A 703 and the Eminent Domain Code provision which allows an expert to rely on “facts or data” which the expert did not personally observe. Use of this particular rule for eminent domain evidence can be very beneficial in production of evidence of full just compensation.

By |June 6th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

Penn East Pipeline

The Penn East pipeline across northern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey continues with FERC approval and multiple eminent domain challenges. Recently another challenge was added via a New Jersey request that FERC reconsider the pipeline impact. Although unlikely, the effort could derail the pipeline in both states.
New Jersey asks appeals court to review FERC’s approval of PennEast pipeline
FERC erred in awarding Public Convenience and Necessity certificate, AG says
One of the first acts of Gurbir Grewal when he became New Jersey’s attorney general was to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rehear its decision to certify a crucial aspect of the controversial PennEast pipeline; the proposed pipeline would carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to Mercer County. Monday, Grewal filed a petition with a federal appeals court that challenges FERC on that certification.

Grewal filed a petition yesterday with the District of Columbia Circuit Court, asking it to hear the state’s arguments that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) erred when it […]

By |May 31st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|

Atlantic Sunrise Stay Followed By Construction Restart

Environmental groups were able to convince a Federal Court to stop construction while environmental concerns were considered. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ended the stay. This allows construction to be restarted.
ATLANTIC SUNRISE
Pipeline construction to resume as federal court dissolves stay
Construction of the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline will resume today.

That was the comment from Williams Partners on Wednesday night after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dissolved the administrative stay it had issued Monday.

The court’s one-page order states the seven environmental groups that wanted to stop the pipeline project had not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay.

A three-judge panel had issued it saying the court needed time to review the environmental organizations’ contention the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s review of the project did not meet the standard for evaluating greenhouse-gas emissions.

The groups, which included Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County, Lancaster Against Pipelines, Lebanon Pipe Awareness and the Sierra Club also […]

By |November 12th, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights, Uncategorized|

Sunoco Pipeline Construction Spills

Property owners along the route of the Mariner East 2 construction would be wise to inspect their property following multiple construction spills. The following news story discusses the spills. The referenced list of 49 incidents is also included. View the list here. Construction spills could result in DEP fines. They could also result in Sunoco Pipeline liability for property harm beyond acquired property rights.
DEP issues few violations, one fine for Sunoco’s pipeline construction spills
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has issued four Notices of Violation, one consent order and one fine to Sunoco Pipeline for dozens of drilling mud spills that occurred along the length of the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction project. The DEP released a statement on Friday describing its efforts to manage Sunoco’s construction of the 350-mile long pipeline where drilling has caused water-contamination incidents in recent weeks.

DEP also provided a link to a list of 49 incidents, as well as copies of the Notices of Violations, one […]

By |August 9th, 2017|Categories: Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights, Uncategorized|

Temporary DeFacto Taking

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has explicated that a de facto “in effect” taking can take place over a specified period of time. In Re Mountaintop Area Joint Sanitary Auth. v. DeLuca, No. 1318 CD 2016 (July 12, 2017) the court noted that a sewer-authority chose to operate a system in a manner which would sporadically flood the landowners home. The court found that an easement was taken for a period of nearly five years. A Board of Viewers will determine damages per the Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Code.

One week later Faherty Law Firm presented evidence that a Centre County Township effectuated a temporary de facto taking via use of the landowners property as a shortcut between two public roads.

By |August 2nd, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, In the News, Property Rights, Uncategorized|

Mariner East 2 Environmental Violations

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined Sunoco Logistics and is investigating numerous other incidents. Property owners may have a cause of action based on trespass or pollution beyond Sunoco acquired property rights.
DEP issues violation notices over pipeline
The state Department of Environmental Protection has issued four notices of violation to Sunoco Logistics over its construction of the $3 billion, 350-milelong Mariner East 2 pipeline.

The notices were issued to Sunoco in two of the 17 counties along the pipeline route for drilling fluid’s – a mix of water and bentonite clay used to lubricate the drill bit – impact on the state’s water. The department says the fluid is nontoxic and doesn’t have lasting effects on water.

Additionally, a consent order and agreement has been executed for a violation that impacted a wetland

area next to Interstate 81 in Cumberland County. That resulted in a $87,600 penalty. Plus, numerous other investigations of incidents that are anticipated to result in enforcement actions are […]

By |July 25th, 2017|Categories: Condemnation, Eminent domain, Pipeline Construction, Property Rights, Uncategorized|

Three Property Owners in Cumberland County Wait for Court’s Ruling

Mike Faherty presented a Cumberland County Judge with Memorandums of Law before a second day of trial.
Cumberland County property owners to find out soon if pipeline can run through land
Three Cumberland County property owners will have to wait until at least next month to find out if their arguments against a pipeline, proposed to run beneath their land, will stand up in court.

Monday was the second day of testimony in Cumberland County Court in the case of Upper Frankford Township property owners Rolfe Blume, John Perry and Alan Walters, who are arguing Sunoco Pipeline does not have the authority to take a portion of their land to build the underground pipeline that will ship liquid natural gas across the state.

After the hearing, Cumberland County Judge M.L. Ebert asked both parties to submit briefs with the court before he makes his ruling as to whether or not Sunoco Pipeline is authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain to take a […]

By |March 7th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|