Gas Pipeline Uses 160 Eminent Domain Suits To Get Property In 3 States

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Irina Slav via,

Eminent domain is a tough pill to swallow for Americans who take their property rights very seriously, and the aggressive moves by Sabal Trail to seize property for a natural gas pipeline running through three southern states is turning into a drama of immense proportions.

Sabal Trail, the joint venture planning to build a 500-mile natural gas pipeline through Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, has gone to court in order to secure the right of way through the land where the pipeline should pass.

So far, Sabal Trail has filed 160 eminent domain suits and more are expected, according to a report by the Orlando Sentinel. The company is desperately trying to get the right of way through 346 more properties, though it says it has already secured the agreement of 1,248 landowners in the area along the route.

But it’s doubtful that any of these will be allowed by the respective courts to reach the stage of contestation and litigation due to the stated regional importance of the pipeline project.

Florida satisfies almost two-thirds of its power needs with natural gas. Coal is a distant second at around 22 percent, making gas the major source of power for the state. The numbers are not as high for Georgia and Alabama, but natural gas is a significant component of the energy source mix there as well.

Sabal Trail, which is owned by Spectra Energy Corp (NYSE: SE) and NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), will carry one billion cubic feet of gas daily once it starts operating at full capacity, and will supply it to regional utilities Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, and Spectra. Construction works are slated to begin in late June, and the pipeline should be operational in May 2017.

The pipeline project, however, is facing serious opposition, which focuses on environmental and health concerns.

Local government officials in Georgia earlier this month said Sabal Trail operators were using the eminent domain suits to threaten stakeholders into granting the right of way for the pipeline and, worse, relinquishing any responsibility for damages to the pipeline that could pose environmental and health risks. The state’s representatives last week rejected a resolution that would have granted Sabal Trail easement through the problematic properties.

There are those who believe that any opposition will be crushed, because the project is so important it cannot be stopped.

As for those who disagree, the news that Kinder Morgan has suspended the construction of the Palmetto pipeline because of strong local opposition is somewhat reaffirming. Palmetto would have carried crude oil from South Carolina to Florida, but the Georgia legislature passed a moratorium on new oil pipeline construction in the state.

There are a lot of groups fighting the construction of the pipeline, and the Sabal Trail is likely to have a tough time getting the necessary right of way.

While it argues that the project will not only be safe but also economically beneficial for the three states, opponents counter with the danger of sinkholes and gas leaks, and question the economic benefits of the project. They also argue that solar power is a better alternative to gas.

While Kinder Morgan has thrown in the towel, Sabal Trail seems determined to hold fast, despite what is working out to be a situation in three states that suggests American landowners feel the balance between their rights to property, and big business may be shifting in the latter’s favor too far and too fast.

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RadioFlyer's picture
RadioFlyer (not verified) Apr 1, 2016 1:56 PM

All your base are belong to us.


Does anyone actually own their property?  With such massive and growing yearly taxes, we are all just renting from the County or State.

Wait What's picture

Since the 1913 introduction of the income tax, not even your labor is your own. you're a sharecropper whose only yield is the product of your labor, if that. most ppl are just slaves taxed for every hour of labor they sell.

All property in this country is the state's. you're just leasing it. Your car, your home, your labor, anything you sell is government property and subject to tax. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't understand how overarching the government really is. & you can experiment with this theory to gather evidence, stop paying the levy, see how long your property is 'yours.' whether the IRS, state, or Feds, someone will soon come knocking on your door.

OrangeJews's picture
OrangeJews (not verified) Wait What Apr 1, 2016 2:08 PM

Pipelines are going to be the new rail.

0b1knob's picture

So your solution would be what?  To never build another gas pipeline anywhere?

There is already a defacto ban on new pipelines in the New England area.   And people in New England pay as much as 25 times as much as people in other parts of the country for nat gas.

I am more equal than others's picture



Commerce Claus give the right of eminent domain when it is for intrastate commerce, i.e. pipelines.

No environmental damage is caused by pipelines.  Epic myth like unicorns and conservative democrats.

If they don't want it, don't provide the service.  Wait till they beg for cheaper and compliant energy, then say NO!


Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

Why is it the opinions of the actual landowners on these matters are drowned out by everyone else?

Everything has a price. If these land stealers had to pay real "fair value" there wouldn't be a need for eminent domain, except in extreme cases.

One last thing... fuck fossil fuels.

cheech_wizard's picture

Let me know when you come up with a reasonable substitute for any/all of the following products on this list:

Stnadrd Disclaimer: I'm a patient individual, I'll wait.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

Yes faggot, I know how dependent we all are on petroleum.

The difference is you like the petroleum men squeezing your balls and I don't.

Augustus's picture

Heh, Gayus.

Get a check up.  Last time that pony screwed you must have ruptured your mind.

You use that petroleum, except you take it in two holes.

booboo's picture

Power companies have existing 1000' wide easements all over the united states with transmission lines. I have property that extends through such an easement and have received letters of intent. It already has huge transmission lines running through it soooo.... wtf? Use it.

JRobby's picture

All services will be cut to the bone (you will dring the water with lead in it and like it) so the six figure wonders and $80k+++ a year pensions can continue to be paid. Now shut up!

mrdenis's picture

We will never run out of "the rich" extract their fair share .....

tankster's picture

King of eminent domain?

Tyler's savant's Donald Trump...


KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Trump's minor league on eminent domain.....

Urban Redneck's picture

And martial law trumps eminent domain.

As long we're discussing the big boys and pipelines...

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Doing it in the worst possible way, since that's the easiest way.......

Hohum's picture

Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a gas, gas, gas!

Theos's picture

Cant use coal, cant use nuclear, cant use oil. Welp, what do you expect?

Ethelred the Unready's picture

I luv me some coal.  Especially clean Powder River Basin stuff.  No pipelines needed.  If we are all going to be driving Tesla cars by and by how are we supposed to power the durn things?  By tying wind turbines to the car's rooftops?

Dg4884's picture

Yeah, but we got a gas pipeline!  Glad I live in Tampa and my escape pod is in the NC mtns!

MCsBusiness's picture

When will the next earing season kick off? Next Tuesday?

Bloodstock's picture

Wait until ya all start to understand more of the Agenda 21 that is ruling your everyday lives. Right here, right now.

WillyWonka's picture

Say what you will, but they did negotiate with 1,248 people and came to terms.  I can't get 5 friends to agree what movie to see.

Ruger556's picture

I'm with you Willy. The govt taxes our land just because it's the govt. I am guessing these people will be paid for the use of their land which is the way it should be. With the govt, we pay for the use of what is supossedly our land.  I'm sure there are a bunch of eco wacko's who think the total population of the earth should be 500 million (why don't these wacko's just start offing themselves to get it kick started??) pushing this. Where do these people think power comes from? the switch or outlet on their wall?  I'm guessing a lot of this is rural land, not through a sub-division or something.  I'm not saying I would want to lose my land for nothing, but if I was paid appropriately and then that land area was taken off the local tax roles, then I would be open for this.

megrimn's picture

How is it weird to wish that we had a population that would allow us to have a better quality of life? Ever heard of Malthus?

roadhazard's picture

If you live in the mountains on bedrock nobody bothers you. Location, location, location.

asteroids's picture

Wake up Amerika, bury your pipeline beside your railroads. There, fixed it for you. There's no need for new right of ways. There are plenty of old ones you can piggy back.

cheech_wizard's picture

I remember when fiber optics was the next big thing.

Look at the founding of Qwest, and how he basically laid the optic cables alongside the railroad tracks he owned and later acquired...

Standard Disclaimer: I agree with you 100%. A lot of right of way is already established.

Stormtrooper's picture

There is a gas pipeline scheduled to be built (by eminent domain) within 1500 feet of my property. Already have the "hot tap" waiting to punch in and enjoy free gas forever. Bring it on!

trader1's picture

hope you invest in a good insurance policy.

and don't forget to manage counterparty risk.

Lost in translation's picture

And this is different from what China did prior to the Olympics... how?

Just asking.

rejected's picture

Property rights?


The commerce clause:

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

See anything there that gives CorpGov the right to steal property for private enterprise?

Annnd.... if this "clause" gives the FedCoats jurisdiction over states and Indian Tribes then I guess it has jurisdiction over foreign nations as well? It says regulate,,,, not dictate limo's!

Dumbpoopoo Amerimexians will believe anything a bunch of men in black robes tell them is so.

The Moon is made of Blue Cheese,,,, yes Bwanna.

We own you,,,, yes Bwanna.


RadioFlyer's picture
RadioFlyer (not verified) Apr 1, 2016 3:07 PM

I'm going to blame this on Nicolai Tesla.  Because.

cheech_wizard's picture

Nikola Tesla. The only reason I'm correcting this is because if I were to say I had someone who I idolized in my youth it would be him.

Standard Disclaimer:


Ms No's picture

I am a big fan too.  His auto-biography is free on line if you haven't read it yet, it's fascinating.  Short and easy read as well.  A very strange and incredible life that man had.

cheech_wizard's picture

There are two things that fascinated me about him and wish I could somehow duplicate them.

Nikola Tesla was the first person known to have recreated a ball lightning-like charge in the lab, in 1904. In the hundred years since then, only a few researchers have successfully repeated Tesla’s accomplishment.

The other thing I read about was he could touch sections of a wall and have them light up. (I took this to be some sort of large capacitor (glass) that when electrified gave off light in the visible spectrum.


GovernmentMule's picture

The illusion of ownership...

monad's picture

Cost least to get rights, build and maintain if they follow or buy the train tracks. Those wheels already did this, and they liked solid ground and low grades when they did.

prymythirdeye's picture

Eminent domain proves you don't own shit.  You rent the land that your house sits on.

Blankone's picture

In the great state of Texas you have no chance to fight against an oil pipeline going across your property. 

I believe it was T Boone Pickens who actually donated (bribed) every Texas legislator to get his bill passed.  The people of Texas quietly took it one way while their legislators took it another.

SilverRhino's picture

One guy with a pickup truck, no plates, a stick of dynamite and some sandbags CAN make a difference.

Ms No's picture

A lot of people don't realize that there is a lot of oil infrastructure work right now.  It hasn't let up in ten years it just depends on what you do and how many of you there are.  I get a call about every two months about a pipeline somewhere or a gas plant  looking for permanant employee.  You can crank a thousand bucks a day or better pipelining independent if you can tolerate the risk of getting stabbed at work and dealing with the sex offenders they are hiring now days. 

You have to hire your own fitter and have your own equipment.  Usually they cover your insurance, sometimes supplies.  The unions get most of the big pipe which is the easy stuff.  Just about anybody can learn to weld that big pipe.  They do the same thing all day in the exact same fashion and they don't have to know tons of pipe math and other skills.  It's not forgiving work, you have pass x-ray to get in and if you get cut out and your not fast you will be fired.  Not a bad deal for a young guy that doesn't mind brawling occasionally and isn't inclined to paper pushing.   

SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

After reading the headline, I thought I would see the 3 States as Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia

SmittyinLA's picture

Was there some point to that article post?

Eminent domain is a great thing, lawsuits are good, in most foreign countries landowners have no choice and don't get compensated and sometimes the government kills anybody that protests-like in Iran and Sirac and So Sudan.

In America we get eminent domain lawsuits, of course all the detractors are leftists whose land isn't being encumbered, or they're just a cockblocker that most likely supports criminal invasion and eventual mass starvation and overpopulation-but a pipeline is verboten.