You Wouldn’t Buy A Car or Tractor Without Asking Questions First!
By: Emens & Wolper Law
Landowners all across the State of Ohio are being approached by land agents for proposed pipeline projects. Undoubtedly, the continued expansion of Ohio’s pipeline infrastructure is essential for the tremendous development of Ohio’s Utica/Point Pleasant Shale in Eastern Ohio. As one of the few Ohio landowners’ pipeline law firms, we continue to receive calls from landowners with “buyer’s remorse”. These landowners signed a pipeline easement that will likely last decades without fully understanding their rights or the terms of the easement. DON’T BE A LANDOWNER WHO HAS BUYER’S REMORSE. Ask the essential questions first, evaluate your rights, and negotiate for what is fair.
We see time and time again landowners who don’t ask the basic and essential questions before they sign a pipeline easement. Yet, when we ask these landowners if they would buy a car or tractor without first taking it for a test run, asking about the features, without evaluating the quality, or without trying to negotiate more favorable terms, most say they would not. Think of a potential pipeline easement as a business transaction like buying a car or a tractor. GO INTO THE TRANSACTION WITH YOUR EYES OPEN – know that the land agent at your home is the car or tractor salesman representing the seller and is trying to get the best terms for the pipelines company for the least money!
Before considering the potential terms of a pipeline easement, ask the following basic, but essential questions:
- How large is the proposed pipeline going to be (how many inches in diameter)?
- Does the company want the right to install more than one pipeline?
- What materials does the pipeline company plan to transport through the pipeline?
- Where on your property will the pipeline cross?
- How many feet across your property will the proposed pipeline run?
- How wide is the proposed easement?
- Does the pipeline company want any additional space?
– Temporary work/construction space
– Additional construction space
– Access Roads
– Valves, compressors, meters, etc.
- What is the financial strength of the Pipeline Company?
- What is the construction timeline?
Only after having the answers to these essential questions can a landowner truly begin thinking about the actual terms of the proposed easement. In our experience of representing landowners in negotiating pipeline easements, the pipeline company’s initial easement is almost always broader than a landowner would expect and does not contain adequate protection for the landowner. Please call us if you have any questions.