Neighbors Helping Neighbors…Putting the Power Back in the Hands of Landowners

Augusta County’s Virginia Easement Action Team (V.E.A.T.) will be a non-profit education and legal defense group established by Virginians for the benefit of landowners and citizens affected by Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). This would include landowners in the path of the pipeline including those with property affected by access roads and construction zones as well as those on adjoining properties that could suffer harmful effects from the project from blasting or water contamination.

One way to insure that landowners are treated with respect is to stand with your neighbors in pledging to decline a company’s offer for a right-of-way. Other ways include making sure that your full legal rights are protected during the land survey process and the water and foundation inspection process that is being offered by Dominion subcontractors for adjoining property owners.

Our Virginia Easement Action Team is modeled after a success story in Nebraska where landowners banded together to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Listen to Art Tanderup’s recount below.

In regard to right-of-way easements, Dominion does not have the right to an easement through your property UNLESS the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) grants it the power of eminent domain. That has not happened. Even if FERC ultimately grants Dominion the right of eminent domain (still far from certain), landowners have significant rights involving the protection of their property to insure that they are paid the true value of the highest and best use of their property.

By signing a pledge* to stand with your neighbors and not sign an early easement offer from Dominion you accomplish the following:

  1. Better protect your ability to get the best settlement for your property should Dominion be granted the power of eminent domain and have to meet you and your community team in court.
  2. Better protect your neighbors’ ability to get the best settlement as well.
  3. By bringing landowners together you gain power in numbers and leverage resources.
  4. Lessen Dominion’s chances of receiving project approval and the power of eminent domain because FERC looks unfavorably on projects if large numbers of easements must be procured through the eminent domain process.
  5. As a last resort, if Dominion gets approval for its project, you can collectively negotiate the best easement terms to protect property owners’ rights and interests.

Together as a united community we must ensure landowner rights and interests are protected no matter what the end result is of the proposed pipeline project. If the end result of the ACP is construction then landowners must stand together to negotiate the fullest and best terms on contracts that affect their lands in perpetuity. Together is always stronger!

* The Support Commitment Form represents a moral commitment to your neighbors and community and is not legally binding.

Ready to sign the pledge now? Download this form, sign and mail to:

Augusta County Alliance
3419 Cold Springs Road
Greenville, VA 24440

Also, if you aren’t already working with a legal firm, please contact us and we’ll help you find a good fit. You can email us at info[at]AugustaCountyAlliance[dot]org, or call ACA Chair Nancy Sorrells at 540-292-4170.