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History repeats itself.


Williams Transco Sentinel Project - Downingtown Loop

On August 14, 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate to Williams Transco (under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act for a certificate of public convenience and necessity) “to construct, replace and/or abandon certain pipeline facilities in eastern Pennsylvania.”  The certificate authorized WilliamsTransco to expand its already generous 50 to 110 foot wide permanent right of way by at least twenty feet and up to 120 feet and to temporarily engage in construction activities outside the right of way. The project, called The Sentinel Project’s Downingtown Loop replaced a 30” pipeline with a 42” pipeline.WilliamsTransco’s non-compliance did not stop the pipeline (company) from engaging in high-pressure tactics designed to intimidate landowners into accepting WilliamsTransco’s lowball offers to condemn their property and without adequate assurances that post construction restoration measures would be satisfactory.

In August 2010, the federal court ruled “The Brandywine Five” were justified in their appeal and awarded court costs.  Not only was eminent domain stayed, and court costs recovered, the environmental safety, security and quality of life in this area was preserved.

Landowners along the construction site continue to file appeals to FERC in efforts to complete remediation which was supposed to be completed in 2009.

Lessons Learned:

If you know you have a pipeline on or abutting your land, register with FERC to obtain notices of prefiling and filing of projects that might affect you
Participate in the process early and proactively
Become an intervener
A FERC certificate expires one year from date of issue. If conditions of the certificate are not met by the gas company, you may prevent the use of eminent domain to take your land
Communicate with your neighbors and your legislators - work collectively in negotiations with landmen