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Thompson Backs INGAA Landowner-Notification Proposal

Thompson Backs INGAA Landowner-Notification Proposal

Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) last week lent his support to a pipeline-sponsored proposal that would require pipelines seeking to seize private property for projects to notify affected landowners by certified mail at the outset of FERC proceedings, giving them an opportunity to participate more fully in the process.

Specifically, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) initiative would require pipelines to inform landowners along the right-of-way of a project one day after an application has been filed at the Commission, and to forward to them a FERC brochure outlining the eminent domain process and the rights of landowners to participate in FERC proceedings. The INGAA proposal is nearly a mirror image of legislation Thompson, an ardent critic of the existing landowner-notification process, sponsored earlier this year.

In his Sept. 28th letter to the Commission, Thompson suggested one clarification to the pipeline proposal. "...I believe it would be helpful to specify in the proposed rulemaking what information must be included in the notice that gas companies are required to send to landowners," Thompson wrote to Chairman James Hoecker. FERC plans to hold a technical conference in December to address its landowner notification policy, which some believe could lead to a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) or other action on the issue.

INGAA, the senator said, has indicated that it would have "no problem" with the clarification.

Thompson proposed his bill after 50 landowners of Marion County, TN, complained they were taken by surprise when United States Gypsum Corp. sought and received from FERC the right to seize interests in their property to build a small gas pipeline through the county to serve a new plant to be sited in Bridgeport, AL.

Susan Parker

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