Dominion, MVP File to Dismiss VA-WV Lawsuit Against Pipe Projects

In September a group of 57 gentry landowners in Virginia and West Virginia, backed by an out-of-state Big Green group, sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in an attempt to gut the 80-year old Natural Gas Act that gives FERC the right to grant eminent domain for pipeline projects (see VA, WV Landowners Sue FERC re Pipelines, Seek to Gut Natural Gas Act). Specifically, the colluding landowners oppose Dominion’s $5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, and EQT’s $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline project, a 303-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. The frivolous lawsuit, titled BOLD ALLIANCE, et al. v. FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It claims the landowners’ property is a “taking” not properly compensated under the U.S. Constitution. Yesterday two important parties to the lawsuit–Dominion (representing Atlantic Coast Pipeline) and Mountain Valley Pipeline–filed a motion to dismiss the case. They have a strong argument. Why dismiss? Because the gentry landowners filing the lawsuit have ignored United State laws, which specifically state that (a) ONLY FERC has jurisdiction over the projects and decisions about whether or not they can get built, (b) if a supposedly aggrieved party disagrees with FERC’s decisions, they must first file for a rehearing, and if FERC still refuses, then (c) the supposedly aggrieved party can file a lawsuit ONLY with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The suers (Bold Alliance) did file for a rehearing and FERC has not yet ruled on the rehearing. Bold Alliance tried to sidestep the law by moving forward with a lawsuit prematurely. However, the really big no-no is that they filed in U.S. District Court for DC, NOT the Court of Appeals for DC. Big difference. We see no other choice for the judges in U.S. District Court but to dismiss the case since Bold Alliance should not have brought the case in their court in the first place…

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