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U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Against Landowners in Pipeline Early Possession Case

February 5, 2019

The Court of Appeals for the U.S. Fourth Circuit today ruled against landowners in an appeal of previous courts’ decision to grant the right of early entry to Mountain Valley Pipeline. The landowners questioned whether Mountain Valley could be granted access to property before just compensation had been determined for each landowner in the condemnation proceedings.

One argument put forth by the appellant landowners was that a similar prior case heard by the same court, East Tennessee Natural Gas Co. v. Sage, was wrongly decided. Though in the oral arguments for the case the Court questioned whether Sage was decided correctly, it determined in the opinion it was still bound by the precedent.

“And as we have explained, Sage squarely forecloses the Landowners’ argument that the district courts lacked the authority to grant immediate possession in a Natural Gas Act condemnation,” the Court’s opinion stated.

This is one of three cases brought by landowners along the MVP route regarding the issue of eminent domain. The others included a Constitutional challenge to the Natural Gas Act itself, which was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and was denied on request for Writ of Certiorari. The third is part of a larger case pending in the DC Circuit with the appeal of Requests for Rehearing of the FERC Certificate.

Lynda Majors, POWHR Coalition Executive Committee Member

“It is hard to envision a rationale under our constitution that supports the unjust entries, takings and abuses of land, water and privacy that we’ve witnessed along the MVP route. We continue to encourage the judiciary to view the path of takings and destruction along the MVP.  We have grown as a nation in challenging unjust precedent, such as Sage.  Sage allows a private gas company to enter, use, and destroy the property of another before paying for it. Moreover, eminent domain is a power of public takings for the public benefit, which is still at issue in other pending cases involving MVP.  Stated simply, Sage supports theft.

“We applaud the courage and persistence of landowners in their continued efforts to stop MVP and we remain committed in our support of them.”

Maury Johnson, POWHR Coalition Executive Committee Member

“It is with great sorrow, but also great determination that I vow to continue to oppose the use of eminent domain for private gain and the destruction of our farms, homes and property on not only the MVP, but the ACP, MXP and other unnecessary fracked gas pipelines.”


Lynda Majors, ljmajors@usa.net, (540) 320-1922

Maury Johnson, maurywjohnson@yahoo.com, (304) 646-9285

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