HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - A federal judge has allowed the state to intervene in a Virginia lawsuit challenging Dominion Resources' right to survey private property for a proposed pipeline.

The lawsuit filed by Churchville residents William Little II and Wendy Little says the couple has denied Dominion permission to enter their property.

A Virginia law allows natural gas companies to enter private property without the owner's written permission, if the company requests permission to inspect the property and gives advance notice to the owner. The lawsuit argues that the law is vague.

Court records show that U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanksi on Friday granted Attorney General Mark Herring's motion to intervene in the case to defend the law.

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run 550 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

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