Kinder Morgan’s construction of the 360 mile Palmetto Pipeline includes 210 miles that traverse the state of Georgia. The pipeline project requires the company to purchase easements from property owners to install steel pipeline underground. These 50 foot easements would preclude property owners from using the land to plant trees and require landowners to obtain consent to transport large loads over the pipeline. Although the company has stated that it will take into account damages incurred from future losses when estimating easement payments, affected residents still oppose the easements which would severely restrict their ability to use their land.
All easements grant a non-possessory right to use another’s land for a limited purpose. The installation of infrastructure mechanisms that cross private property, such as pipelines, transmission lines and railroads require easements. A pipeline easement confers a right-of-way to allow the company, or grantee, to access the private property. This is referred to as an “appurtenant” easement since it runs with the land. The easement therefore transfers to a subsequent owner upon the sale or conveyance of the property. In general, this type of easement prohibits property owners from erecting structures, installing anything that could obstruct the area and planting trees along the right-of-way.
While pipeline company representatives may approach landowners with standardized easement contracts, there are several terms and conditions that should be carefully reviewed and negotiated. Some of these provisions include compensation for the easement (including payments rendered for damages, forfeiture of land for a specific use and special damages such as loss of grazing land), the physical boundaries of the pipeline structure, access to the easement and accountability for possible future events such as fires or spills.
The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. specializes in laws pertaining to easements and is knowledgeable in all other areas of Georgia property law. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at http://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.