Pipeline Routing Negotiation Illustrates A Better Way

dimock verdict - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Landowners truly concerned with the impacts of pipeline development have a great example of how to negotiate to get what they want with the Atlantic Sunrise.

Something very interesting happened with respect to the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline happened last week. It demonstrates how landowners and others with meaningful issues having to do with pipeline routing can influence things in a positive way. The Atlantic Sunrise has filed with FERC for a route change to protect a property with outstanding biological diversity. It happened because the landowner approached the matter with something other than the typical NIMBY or hysterical ideological campaigns so typical of project opponents these days. They tried something different; they used hard data and made their case based on facts without attacking the project itself or declaring war on the gas industry.

The story is all about a parcel owned by Geraldine Nesbitt (the “Nesbitt Parcel”) in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. It is situated between two superimposed existing pipeline easements depicted in red on the aerial photo below (parcel outlined in yellow):

Pipeline Routing

The property includes two natural heritage areas and Yahoo Finance reports the following (emphasis added):

When approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the latest proposed pipeline route would preserve a forested tract of land known as “The Nesbitt Parcel,” which experts have stated has the biodiversity equal to or exceeding any state park in Pennsylvania and has numerous cultural resources that would qualify it for a World Heritage Site…

“This is an encouraging development,” Attorney Carolyn Elefant, the spokesperson for intervenor Geraldine Nesbitt, said in response to the latest request from the pipeline owners, The Williams Companies (WMB) and Williams Partners (WPZ) through its Transco subsidiary…

Ms. Elefant said, “Ms. Nesbitt has never been opposed to natural gas pipelines. Instead she has been advocating for environmentally and culturally appropriate siting of the Atlantic Sunrise Expansion pipeline. Ms. Nesbitt is encouraged that the pipeline is requesting this variance as it demonstrates the pipeline’s desire to do the right thing and is being conscious of the impacts to significantly unique environmental and cultural resources on her property. This is the best route for the pipeline to protect environmental and cultural resources as well for the rights of property owners.”

“We are hopeful that FERC will grant the variance without delay and that the U.S. Corps of Engineers will promptly move forward on the necessary permits for Alternative 13 so the project can be timely completed,” said Ms. Elefant. “While this has been a highly controversial and contentious project, the variance request filed by Williams demonstrates that the gas industry and the public can collaboratively work together to appropriately site pipelines. This is a win-win for everyone and again we applaud Williams’ variance request as an environmentally and socially conscious decision. Now it is up to FERC to be equally environmentally and socially conscious to do the right thing.”

Nice outcome, isn’t it? It happened because this landowner had made an effective case and was willing to engage in a discussion of facts and negotiate in good faith rather than surrender itself to some special interest group’s political campaign against oil and gas. There might just be something to learn from this example, don’t you think?

The post Pipeline Routing Negotiation Illustrates A Better Way appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

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