Supreme Court revives landowners' case against Mountain Valley Pipeline
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on a case involving six Virginia landowners and developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. This case challenges whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the right to give eminent domain authority to a for-profit entity.
“That’s our home,” said Cletus Bohon, one of the landowners who filed the case. “It just shouldn’t be legal for them to come in and take our property like that, if we’re not willing to settle with them.”
A portion of Bohon and his wife’s property in Montgomery County was given to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, against their will.
Their lawyer, Mia Yugo, argues there’s a constitutional issue with the federal government granting FERC the authority to use eminent domain to take someone’s property, and give it to a to for-profit project like the MVP.
“And with that certificate, MVP gets to go and take Cletus and Beverly’s land against their will,” Yugo said.
The case will now go back to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in Washington, D.C. It could eventually go to trial before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Both of these courts had earlier dismissed the case, but the Supreme Court’s ruling vacates the lower courts’ rulings.
Representatives from FERC and MVP both declined to be interviewed or make a statement about the recent ruling by the Supreme Court.
The MVP has been embroiled in a number of legal cases and permitting issues the past few years. The 303 mile project through West Virginia and Virginia is now estimated to cost more than $6 billion.
The U.S. Forest Service recently issued its approval for a 3.5 mile stretch of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to be built through the Jefferson National Forest in Giles and Montgomery Counties in Virginia, and Monroe County in West Virginia.