Va. Supreme Court Rules Against Granny in Pipeline Survey Case

Granny Clampett

Last September MDN told you about an 83-year old granny who didn’t want surveyors working for Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline to enter her property to conduct a survey for a possible pipeline route (see A Supreme Court to Hear Atlantic Coast Pipe Survey Case). The Virginia Supreme Court accepted the case and as we said at the time, it is “high stakes,” because a 2004 Virginia law specifically allows surveyors to enter a property WITHOUT landowner permission, as long as the surveyors provide ample, advance notice of when they are coming. Some landowners use that advance notice to set up illegal blockades and to call in the police–an abuse of police authority (see Va. Landowners Illegally Block MVP Survey Crew on Bent Mountain). Hazel Palmer, an 83-year old widow (i.e. granny) chose to litigate rather than protest. She took her case all the way to the Supremes, and last week the Supremes ruled against her. However, Dominion also got a slap on the wrist. The justices said notifications sent for when surveyors will arrive can no longer say the surveyors will arrive “on or after,” because “after” can mean years later. Instead, Dominion will have to give several potential, specific dates when surveyors will visit a property…

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