The West Virginia Supreme Court affirmed yesterday (November 15) that developers of a proposed 300-mile-long natural gas pipeline can’t survey private land for the project without the landowners’ permission—a win for pipeline opponents everywhere.
Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, the company behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline, challenged an August 2015 decision where a Monroe County judge ruled in favor of residents who argued that pipeline developers coming onto their land without permission violates a basic right of all West Virginians.
At hand was also the issue of eminent domain and whether the this pipeline would serve any “public use”—a state requirement for developers to use eminent domain. This is because although the natural gas would come from nearby sources, it would head out to markets throughout the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S., according to the court documents.
At least one water protector contesting the Dakota Access Pipeline embraced this win: Dallas Goldtooth, a campaign organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, posted to Facebook on the decision yesterday with the words, “In other great news!”
During the construction of this pipeline, Energy Transfer, the company developing the 1,172-mile long pipeline, used eminent domain to grab land, an action that landed it in a flurry of lawsuits.