Some southern West Virginia landowners who were threatened with legal action for not allowing pipeline surveyors onto their property have filed their own lawsuits.
Lawyer Derek Teaney, with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, filed paperwork Wednesday on behalf of three couples in Monroe and Summers counties.
Teaney is asking the circuit court in each county to stop surveyors working on the Mountain Valley Pipeline from coming onto his clients’ property.
The company sent letters threatening legal action to landowners who refused to allow surveyors access to their property in late January. The company said the landowners had until March 9 to comply or face unspecified legal action. To date, the company hasn’t taken any action.
The letters cited West Virginia’s eminent domain law in requesting access to the properties.
The lawsuits filed Wednesday say that because the pipeline company doesn’t provide a service to West Virginians, it doesn’t have a right to eminent domain. Therefore, the lawsuits say, the pipeline company can’t force landowners to allow surveyors onto their property.
Teaney said he can’t comment on ongoing litigation. Mountain Valley spokeswoman Natalie Cox said the company is aware of the lawsuits. She said Mountain Valley will review them and respond accordingly.