Nelson Residents File Lawsuit against Dominion

Posted: Updated: Jul 24, 2014 05:43 PM

Six people in Nelson County have filed a lawsuit against Dominion Transmission to keep them from surveying on their land.

They claim the company's request, which was outlined in a letter they all received, is illegal. Each of the six landowners received a letter from the company on June 30, saying the company planned to begin surveys July 11. The landowners are arguing that legally isn't enough notice, and the request itself asks for illegal permissions.

Dominion is considering plans to build a natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina, which would cross Nelson County.

Attorney Neal Walters is representing all six individuals. He says the surveys fall under a statute that allows utility companies to come onto private property for certain things, but he says what Dominion is asking to do in the letter aren't among them.

The Nelson residents filed a permanent injunction arguing if the company is found to have violated the conditions of the statute, they shouldn't ever be allowed on the property.

"They said that they might clear pathways through brush or as necessary to do the work, and the statute doesn't authorize any clearing,” Walters said. "It also indicated they might dig up, do digging on the property to look for things - I think historical artifacts was one of the things identified - and again the statute permits them to do hand auguring for locating the line, but doesn't authorize digging holes in the property."

Walters says Dominion has agreed to comply and not do work on any of the landowners' properties until the court has given them permission.

Walters says they had a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday, but cancelled it when Dominion agreed to wait for a court ruling before proceeding with any surveys. He says that next hearing on the permanent injunction could be months away.

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