Landowners respond to Mountain Valley lawsuit - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Landowners respond to Mountain Valley lawsuit

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Landowners are speaking out about the lawsuit filed by Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Mountain Valley filed a lawsuit in the US District Court, after landowners refused to let the company survey their property. Now, residents are being told by the company that they have eminent domain. That means the government has the right to use private property for public use, as long as they pay the property owner. Landowners told 59 News they've never seen a document from Mountain Valley to back up that statement.

"Basically this company wants to run a for profit 42 inch pipeline through Monroe County. They are trying to claim eminent domain, and they don't have eminent domain until they get through the FERC process," said Monroe County resident Ba Rea. 

One landowner said opposing this pipeline is more than just about saving the environment. It's about the safety of his family.

"We have adopted three special needs children. One of whom is now in his 30's and living with us full time. He has 24/7 care. This pipeline will cross my right away, basically my road," said landowner Charles Matthew. 

One man said this lawsuit is about bullying the residents.

"People start worrying about money, but this suit has nothing to do with money. It's all about access to their property," said Howdy Henritz. 

According to Mountain Valley: It is necessary to enter the respondents' properties to survey to appropriate necessary rights-of-way, obtain a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Certificate, and construct the pipeline.

But several landowners are not going down without a fight, and have filed a counter lawsuit against Mountain Valley. Landowners and Mountain Valley are now fighting on where the case should be heard. Mountain Valley wants to have the case heard in a federal court, but landowners are pushing to have the case heard by a local court. 

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