Pipeline infrastructure is a hot topic – both within and outside the energy industry. One particularly challenging issue is the use of eminent domain by interstate natural gas pipeline companies to construct and expand their pipeline transmission systems. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Transwestern Pipeline Co. v. 17.19 Acres of Property refused to enhance the ability of these companies to condemn private property. The court held that until an order of condemnation issues under Section 717f(h) of the Natural Gas Act, a pipeline has no substantive right of possession – rejecting a claim for a "quick take" of the property. A copy of the court’s decision can be found here.
[Update: It’s not just an issue for pipeline construction; the use of eminent domain by interstate pipeline companies to acquire storage facilities is also a hot topic according to this article from the Altoona Mirror. (Moved up.)]