January 2016 Archives

Update on Pennsylvania's Pipeline Task Force

The Pipeline Task Force held its final meeting last week. With that completed, it is now anticipated that the Task Force's report will be delivered to Governor Wolf soon. That report is expected to consist of over 180 recommendations regarding how to prepare for and manage the impact of pipelines within Pennsylvania. It is believed that some of the Task Force's recommendations will include, among other things, increased training for state regulators and emergency responders, creating state level coordination and infrastructure systems and suggestions on how to minimize environmental impacts. Other areas likely to be addressed by the report include agriculture, conservation and natural resources, historical and cultural resources, public participation, and economic development. 

Impact of Pipelines on Property

As new and additional pipeline projects are undertaken in Pennsylvania, many property owners are being confronted with a situation with which they have little to no prior experience. This often takes the form of a pipeline company representative approaching the property owner seeking to purchase an easement across the property owner's land. During this process, the land agents will often claim that the pipeline will have no or only a minimal impact on the property and its value. We caution property owners to be wary of these statements and representations. Experience has reflected that pipelines can impact property values in a number of ways. One possible way is that a pipeline can lower the fair market value of a property. In some cases, the pipeline can have a significant impact on the property's value. Second, the pipeline can limit the property owner in utilizing the property in the future. By way of example, if the easement were to cut through the center of a vacant lot, it may render the lot no longer usable for development. In addition, if a pipeline runs through the center of a back yard, it may prevent the property owner from adding an addition to an existing residence and/or installing a pool. Third, pipelines can potentially limit the number of individuals who may be willing to purchase the property in the future. On this basis, we suggest that property owners carefully consider any offer which is made to them by a pipeline company before accepting the offer.

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