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  1. #1
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    Default Over my head... how about you?

    So, interesting developments on the power front. Seems that the Department of Emery has adopted new legislation and policy to allow power companies stronger posturing in deciding where to put transmission lines.

    By entertaining thoughts on a "National Transmission Corridor", DOE effectivley gives power companies eminent domain privilege over property owners, and can actually bypass State laws and regulations.

    Be aware this is a new battle for the property owners, in such as a private company can take your land if in the National Interest.

    What land areas are in the National Interest? Most of the Mid-Atlantic and the State of California.

    You can learn more of the Draft DOE policy here DRAFT National Interest Transmission Corridor

    For those of you in the Piedmont area of Virginia, may I suggest the PEC website for information.

    On a personal note, I am all about property owners rights, states rights, and the national interest, followed by private and public entities.

    -Mike Z.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    We have a catfight going here between a landowner and AVISTA (power company). Avista is in the process of building a very high voltage feed to transfer mega amounts of electricity to a sub station. They used their existing right-of-way to cross a farmers land. The poles and lines being the huge, high tower type effectively prevents any aerial spraying or fertilyzer application for 30 or 40 acres.

    Farmer argues that that is a 'taking' and the original right-of-way granted back in the 40s did not envision such an encumberance.

    Last week the local Supreme Court for Whitman Co agreed with him. I haven't seen what the settlement will be.

    All along I considered Avista to be way in the wrong trying to argue that a grant allowing 30 or 40 ft poles was also good for 150 ft poles.

    Harry K

  3. #3
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    Private interests should not be given the authority to take land from other private parties.

    The problem is defining what a private interest is. Power companies are there for the benefit of large numbers of people. Power companies are highly regulated by the government. How can the government allow one little farmer or one little homeowner stand in the way of cheap power for the masses? And if it comes down to politics, which it does, who gets the most votes, the guy who sticks up for the one little farmer, or the guy who paves the way for rich and powerful developers and new Walmarts and mega subdivisions which house the masses in enourmous homes?

    When you can't tell the players apart without a program is when you know when we're in trouble. When GM, Walmart, power companies, ADM, Phillip-Morris, etc become so important to the economy that the government has to treat them as national security issues, then it gets awfully hard to tell where the distinction begins between private enterprise and a socialist government. The two are one. And they do not have your best interest at heart. Unless you are a large stockholder or a Senator.
    George
    South Carolina

    The size of government is inversely proprotional to the degree of freedom it affords.

    "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    Interesting comments...

    Quote Originally Posted by N80
    Private interests should not be given the authority to take land from other private parties.
    Agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by N80
    The problem is defining what a private interest is. Power companies are there for the benefit of large numbers of people. Power companies are highly regulated by the government. How can the government allow one little farmer or one little homeowner stand in the way of cheap power for the masses? And if it comes down to politics, which it does, who gets the most votes, the guy who sticks up for the one little farmer, or the guy who paves the way for rich and powerful developers and new Walmarts and mega subdivisions which house the masses in enourmous homes? ..
    To what government are you referring? Local? State or Federal? in the end this comes down to Federal vs. State. As my particular state has yet to formal endorse the policy of a NITC (National Interest Transmission Cooridor).

    It boils down to (Example) me getting evicted from my land (in VA) because some entity in upstate NY needs more power. What interest does this serve for me, my community, my state or even MY region. NONE.

    I say build the darn power supplies where the darn demand is. get out of the energy trading business.

    -Mike Z.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    I deal in contracted right of way services for all types of utilities including: powerlines, pipelines both liquid and natural gas. For powerlines, if the project crosses a state line, then they are regulated under FERC, if not, then they are state regulated. For pipelines, in general all transmission pipelines are owned by the pipeline company, but rarely do they own the product. They act as a "toll road" in that both the supplier and the end user pay a fee to use the pipeline. The government does not own nor operate any of these "quasi" government utilities as they are all in this for a profit. However, each entity is regulated by the government, state or federal, and thus they also regulate their profit margins. In all cases they have the right of eminent domain in either federal or state court. I know of no case where anyone was evicted for a pipeline or a powerline. The corridor you refer to has been in the planning stages for a good while, especially on federal lands out west. On private lands, a corridor seems good to those that aren't affected as the utility stays next to eachother. On the other hand, a landowner with 4 pipelines and a couple of powerlines could ask the question,"Why me?" Environmental issues on new right of way are sometime hard to get approved and older right of way that has healed or shown no real environmental impacts are easier to argue. I do believe under these circumstances of corridors on private lands, that a sharp appraiser for the private landowner could successfully argue that the highest and best use of his land was for corridor right of way and thus could use the flow and profit structure from each company to develop a very high land value based upon that use. If I was an affected landowner in a utility corridor, that's the tactic that I would take.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    Quote Originally Posted by pappy19
    I On private lands, a corridor seems good to those that aren't affected as the utility stays next to eachother. On the other hand, a landowner with 4 pipelines and a couple of powerlines could ask the question,"Why me?" Environmental issues on new right of way are sometime hard to get approved and older right of way that has healed or shown no real environmental impacts are easier to argue. I do believe under these circumstances of corridors on private lands, that a sharp appraiser for the private landowner could successfully argue that the highest and best use of his land was for corridor right of way and thus could use the flow and profit structure from each company to develop a very high land value based upon that use. If I was an affected landowner in a utility corridor, that's the tactic that I would take.
    Thanks for the great information, the ROWs for the new utility have not been established. Exsisting ROWs are up to capacity.

    -Mike Z.

  7. #7
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    Quote Originally Posted by riptides
    To what government are you referring? Local? State or Federal?
    Mike, as usual my comments are general and not specific. But at any level of government in which the needs and wants of private institutions are intimately intertwined with the wants and needs of governments, be they local or federal, I believe there is a problem. That problem can be as simple and common as nepotism or graft or as complicated as the relationship between the federal government and large muti-natinal corporations that the government comes to depend on and vice versa.

    This is a soapbox issue of mine and it didn't really have any place in this discussion so I apologize for that. My kids already assume that I'm going to be the unshaven guy with the long greasy hair, wearing mismatched shoes and dirty trenchcoat ranting and raving on the corner about the end of the world.

    I can think of worse occupations.
    George
    South Carolina

    The size of government is inversely proprotional to the degree of freedom it affords.

    "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    Quote Originally Posted by N80
    <snippage>

    The problem is defining what a private interest is. Power companies are there for the benefit of large numbers of people. Power companies are highly regulated by the government. How can the government allow one little farmer or one little homeowner stand in the way of cheap power for the masses? And if it comes down to politics, which it does, who gets the most votes, the guy who sticks up for the one little farmer, or the guy who paves the way for rich and powerful developers and new Walmarts and mega subdivisions which house the masses in enourmous homes?

    .
    I, and I am certain, noone else says that the little guy can stand in the way. What I am saying is that a ROW granted back in the 40s, or a new ROW, should not be valid to build something that destroys the useage of the land WITHOUT COMPENSATION. In the case I cited, the new line effectively removed 40 or 50 acres from economically viable production.

    Harry K

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    Quote Originally Posted by turnkey4099
    I, and I am certain, noone else says that the little guy can stand in the way. What I am saying is that a ROW granted back in the 40s, or a new ROW, should not be valid to build something that destroys the useage of the land WITHOUT COMPENSATION. In the case I cited, the new line effectively removed 40 or 50 acres from economically viable production.

    Harry K
    They always said land was a good investment. In these cases of ROWs the *current* landowner gets screwed. Now a new ROW, the current landowner may have some pocket change show up. Maybe.

    -Mike Z.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Over my head... how about you?

    I am working a new pipeline project here in Utah right now where the original easement was purchased in 1939 and allows for additional pipelines to be built for what was the original payment. Most of the payments were less than $50 and the easement width is un-defined, thereby encumbering basically the entire property. Most purchasers of land receive a list of easements that cross the property in their title report, but rarely, if ever, does the title company attach a copy of the easement itself. This is a big mistake on the part of the purchaser. Some easements are very open-ended and leave the purchaser with little opportunity to develop or change the existing use.

    The client pipeline company that I am working for now is paying the landowners with existing easements as if they were purchasing a new easement, which I believe is more than fair. We are also offering to define our easement via a Quit Claim deeding the easement rights back to the landowner except for our defined easement with of 30 feet. This will help the landowner to know what the confines of the easement are in relation to what they wish to plan for the future. This also helps when the property is sold again as the title report will so indicate.

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