Any unauthorized entry by Sabal Trail will be treated as trespass by our client –Bill Langdale

This is the response from Larry Rodgers’ attorney, Bill Langdale, to the eminent domain letter from Sabal Trail’s attorney. Larry referred to both of these letters on the Chris Beckham radio show this morning. -jsq

P. 0. BOX 1547
TELEPHONE (229) 244~54OO
FACSIMILE (229) 244-0453

December 4, 2013

Via Overnight Delivery and US. First Class Mail

Matthew J. Calvert, Esq.
Hunton & Williams, LLP
Suite 4100
600 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30308-2216

RE:Larry Rodgers Investments, LLC’s Response to Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC’s (“Sabal Trail”) November 26, 2013 Survey Permission Request for Natural Gas Pipeline (the “Pipeline“), FERC Docket No. PF14-1-000, located on Tract No. 3219.000, Parcel Id. No. 0099 024 in Lowndes County, Georgia (the “Property”)

Dear Mr. Calvert,

PDF of page 1

The undersigned and this law firm represent Larry Rodgers Investments, LLC (“Rodgers Investments”). We are in receipt of Sabal Trail’s November 26, 2013 letter referenced above (the “Request”) requesting to perform certain civil, environmental and cultural resource surveys on the Property. Rodgers Investments respectfully denies Sabal Trail’s request to enter the Property for the reasons set forth below.

Thank you for pointing us to O.C.G.A. § 22-3-88 which addresses the eminent domain rights of pipeline companies. We agree that the cases you cite in your letter provide the general rule of law with respect to survey rights of an entity vested with eminent domain authority. However, we disagree that the cases are on point in this matter. None of the cases cited (Oglethorpe Power Corporation v. Goss, 253 Ga. 644 (1984), Walker, et. al v. City of Warner Robins, 262 Ga. 551 (1992), and Ware v. Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority, 258 Ga. App. 778 (2002)) pertain to pipeline companies, which are governed specifically by O.C.G.A. § 22-3-80, et seq. In fact the legislature has specifically stated that “there are certain problems and characteristics indigenous to such pipelines which require the enactment and implementation of special procedures and restrictions on petroleum pipelines and related facilities as a condition of the grant of the power of eminent domain to petroleum pipeline companies.” O.C.G.A. § 22-3-80.

In that regard, our review of the law suggests that one of these “special procedures” requires pipeline companies to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 22-3-82(c), prior to conducting the type of surveys you describe in your Request. Until

Matthew J. Calvert, Esq.
December 4, 2013
Page 2.

PDF of page 2

such Certificate is furnished and the notice requirements of O.C.G.A. § 22-3-82(a) are complied with, our client is unwilling to consider this Request. Accordingly, any unauthorized entry by Sabal Trail will be treated as trespass by our client.

Additionally, we seriously question whether O.C.G.A. § 22-3-88 allows for Sabal Trail to exercise eminent domain rights upon the Property, or any property in the State of Georgia for that matter. The code section would appear to require Sabal Trail to actually furnish the natural gas in the State of Georgia as a condition of exercising eminent domain rights in Georgia. As Sabal Trail’s proposed use does not appear to furnish any natural gas in the State of Georgia, it is not authorized to exercise eminent domain rights pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 22-3-88. Therefore, even if Sabal Trail obtains and furnishes my client with a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, it is our opinion, based on information we currently have, that Sabal Trail would not have the right to exercise eminent domain, and any entry on our client’s Property would be an unauthorized entry.

If there have been additional communications between the parties or other pertinent information that we are not aware of, please advise us at your earliest convenience, and we will be happy to review and evaluate any additional documents or information relevant to the matters discussed herein.

Please give me a call at your earliest convenience so that we may schedule a time to discuss, and hopefully resolve these issues. I look forward to your reply.

Best regards,
William P. Langdale, Jr.

cc: Brooke F. Voelzke, Esq.

4 thoughts on “Any unauthorized entry by Sabal Trail will be treated as trespass by our client –Bill Langdale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *