4/02/2007

Eminent domain law still possible: The Hanover PA Evening Sun, 4/1/07

By Tim Pratt

Although the Tyrone Township supervisors last month said they are "not leaning toward" an ordinance that would fight eminent domain, the anti-land-taking measure is still a possibility.

Supervisor Margaret Barra said Wednesday she would still like to explore the ordinance before discounting it completely.

Barra said she wants to sit down with township Solicitor Henry Heiser and Tom Linzey of the of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to further discuss the measure.

"I'm not sold on not using the ordinance," Barra said Wednesday.

The supervisors in December retained Linzey's services to draft the ordinance after Duke Energy said land for a proposed 16,000-horsepower natural-gas compressor station and its adjacent power lines could be seized if property owners don't sell.

Linzey in December said that since Duke Energy is classified as a utility company and makes natural gas available to the public, it has the right to seize the land.

But Supervisor Galen Smith said that, after speaking with Heiser, he doesn't think a corporation like Duke Energy even has the right to seize land.

And a Duke Energy official earlier this year said eminent domain might not even be necessary because the company is close to finalizing deals with landowners.

Still the plan has attracted opposition and the concern of many area residents.

The compressor station is proposed on 40 acres near the intersection of Route 234 and Oxford Road. Duke officials have said a compressor station is needed every 50 to 70 miles in order to boost pressure and deliver natural gas from Texas to numerous sites throughout the Northeast.

Officials said the existing natural-gas pipelines lose pressure because of friction in the pipes and increases in the number of locations at which the pipes are accessed. The nearest compressors are in Chambersburg and Marietta.


The Hanover PA Evening Sun: http://www.eveningsun.com