The Williams energy company has proposed a massive project called the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline1 that, if approved, will affect many landowners throughout Klamath, Douglas, Jackson, and Coos counties in Oregon. Because the planned pipeline will run through many different private properties, Williams will have to obtain easements2 in order to build the pipeline underground on these properties, as well as to operate and maintain the pipeline indefinitely. If you are an affected property owner, these easements can significantly impact both the value of your land and your ability to use that area of land as you wish. In return for giving up certain rights to part of your land and likely losing value, you legally deserve just compensation from Williams.
Offers of compensation may not be “just”
The company has claimed on the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline website that it “will negotiate for land rights in a fair and equitable manner based on established land valuation practices.” While this may sound promising, this does not mean that landowners will receive offers of compensation that constitute the full amount they deserve. Williams will use its own appraisers and valuation experts who will be instructed to minimize the property value damage in order to limit the amount that is paid out. Generally, in pipeline cases, company appraisers will only consider the impact to the surface of the land over the easement and not the full value of the easement itself, which can result in a very low offer. All too often, landowners do not realize this and may accept an offer that is much lower than what is truly just compensation.
Considerations for just compensation
The easements for the Pacific Connector pipeline are so much more than just the 50-foot wide surface area, as they include:
- Ownership rights to the underground land
- Limitations on the rights of the property owner to use that area of land
- Rights for Williams to maintain and operate the pipeline, which can impact the ability to plant, farm, or graze in that land area
These factors and much more should be considered when determining the value of just compensation. An experienced attorney can have their own appraisers valuate your losses to better negotiate for the compensation you deserve.
The importance of legal representation
Situations involving easements and eminent domain can be legally complicated and large companies often attempt to take advantage of landowners who may not be aware of their legal rights. This is especially true when making an offer of compensation to landowners. Because initial offers are often insultingly low, it is imperative to have an experienced Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline attorney review your case before you accept anything. Once you accept an offer, you lose your right to negotiate if you later realize the lost value of your property was substantially higher than your settlement.
Have a qualified Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline lawyer review your case today
At the law office of Sever Storey, LLP, we represent the rights of landowners in your situation. We will conduct a full analysis of the true financial impact of the pipeline easement on your land and will fight for your right to full and fair compensation. Please call for a free consultation at 888-318-3761 to learn more about how we can help you.