Why would a pipeline company from Houston suffer irreparable harm if it couldn’t go onto the land of somebody in Georgia? A judge in one Georgia county bought Sabal Trail’s eminent domain assertions and now Sabal Trail is citing that to try to get a landowner in Brooks County to let it on the property to survey for its fracked methane pipeline. What about private property rights?
A copy of the Order granting Sabal Trail’s request for injunctive relief, entered on February 21, 2014, is enclosed for your review. As you will see, the Order concluded that:
- Sabal Trail has the right, incidental to its power of eminent domain, to enter private property to conduct the Survey Activities.
- Delays in conducting the Survey Activities will cause Sabal Trail irreparable harm.
- The Survey Activities will not cause substantial harm to the defendant landowners, nor will the surveys disserve the public interest.
Accordingly, the Order prohibits those landowners from preventing or interfering with Sabal Trail’s entry onto their properties for purposes of conducting the survey activities and other necessary examinations in connection with the Pipeline project. Following issuance of the order, Sabal Trail’s survey activity commenced and concluded without incident or any damage to the properties involved.
The letter goes on to “respectfully request” that the landowner permit surveying, or else.
The attached materials include a certificate from Patti B. Smith, Clerk of Superior Court, Stewart County, Georgia, for Case No. 14CV029, and a page (Book 38 Page 545) signed by Judge W. James Sizemore, Jr., Judge, Superior Court of Stewart County, State of Georgia, dated 20 February 2014, that says:
That whole premise is questionable at best. Where is this growing need for natural gas? It looks to me more like a glut of fracked gas trying to get to seacoasts to export.
Maybe judges in Brooks County won’t be so willing to accept claims of gas companies at face value.