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Federal Judge Rules Atlantic Coast Pipeline Cannot Enter Certain Private Properties

In a key ruling issued by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle on March 21, 2018, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline was barred from clearing trees on two rural properties.

The 600-mile natural gas project, led by Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, is already significantly behind schedule. It is meant to bring natural gas to North Carolina through fracking operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. About 1,000 farms and homes in North Carolina are located in the pipeline’s proposed path, and the majority of these landowners have already accepted compensation and signed agreements to host the 36” gas line on their properties.

However, the owners of the properties protected by the judge’s ruling, a fire chief and a farmer, would not settle. They were set to suffer significant financial losses if the pipeline developers had been able to continue unchecked. According to Judge Boyle’s ruling, the property owners (represented by Chuck Lollar, Sr. of Edwards Kirby) presented a compelling case that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s landmen were deceptive or uncommunicative in their dealings with them. The ruling requires the payment of financial compensation to the landowners prior to entering the property.

According to Chuck Lollar, Sr. of Edwards Kirby, this is a highly unusual ruling because the pipeline developers must first provide compensation before accessing the properties. Lollar stated that in the past, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline workers were accessing properties and already clearing trees and moving earth – before a final agreement had been reached. Now, they cannot proceed against these two property owners without first having their differences sorted out at trial or reaching a settlement.

Edwards Kirby is committed to asserting the rights of property owners across North Carolina and the entire U.S. Our eminent domain and property rights litigation department is headed by Chuck Lollar, Sr., a highly skilled attorney with 40 years of experience in this complex field.

To learn more about your rights and options if your property is affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, call (919) 335-7005.