NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Wins Eminent Domain Case…in NY!

Talk about mixed signals. In April, MDN brought you the sad (and angering) news that once again Gov. Andrew Cuomo has caved to political pressure and instructed the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny stream crossing permits for National Fuel Gas Company’s (NFG) Northern Access Pipeline project (see Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). Not long after, NFG filed a lawsuit against the DEC for their arbitrary, capricious and politically-motivated denial of the permits (see NFG Sues NY DEC in Fed Court re Northern Access Pipe Rejection). Meanwhile, another series of court cases has been working its way through NY’s court system–eminent domain cases against a few holdout landowners who refuse to allow the Northern Access Pipeline across their properties. Some 97% of all landowners along the proposed route have signed easements with NFG, but there’s always a few holdouts. Last Thursday one of those holdouts lost in New York Supreme Court in Cattaragus County. (Don’t be confused, in NY, “Supreme Court” is just one level up from county court. The state’s highest court is called the Court of Appeals.) Camp Duffield in Cattaraugus County lost its court case against NFG, and consequently is now being forced, by court order, to submit to the pipeline–when and if it gets built. And that’s the conundrum. The courts obviously recognize NFG’s right, under a FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) order to build the pipeline. But the Cuomo-corrupted DEC does not…

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