Natural gas companies; right of entry upon property. (HB1187)

Introduced By

Del. Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg) with support from co-patrons Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington), and Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Natural gas companies; right of entry upon property. Curtails the ability of a natural gas company to enter upon real property for the purpose of conducting surveys and other tests for its proposed line or the location of facilities. The measure prohibits a natural gas company from entering upon property for such purposes unless the State Corporation Commission (Commission) has issued to it a public use certification, which may be issued only if the Commission finds, among other things, that the company has demonstrated that the pipeline or facility is for a public use. The measure also (i) establishes an expedited procedure for a landowner to seek injunctive relief; (ii) authorizes a landowner to bring a civil action for damages, including liquidated damages of $500 per day per individual entering or attempting to enter property in violation of applicable requirements; (iii) requires a natural gas company to pay treble damages for any actual damages resulting from a lawful entry; (iv) authorizes the landowner or his agent to accompany surveyors and record or photograph survey activities; (v) requires any notice of intent to enter to set forth the time and location where the first entry will occur and the duration of the surveys; and (vi) requires any request for permission to inspect to be sent at least 21 days prior to any notice of intent to enter and include a description of each type of survey and each entity or agent proposed to make such survey. Amends § 56-49.01, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/10/2018Committee
01/10/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18104631D
01/10/2018Referred to Committee on Rules
01/21/2018Impact statement from SCC (HB1187)
02/01/2018Referred from Rules
02/01/2018Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
02/02/2018Assigned C & L sub: Subcommittee #3
02/06/2018Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting (4-Y 4-N)
02/13/2018Left in Commerce and Labor

Comments

Josh Howard writes:

I unequivocally support this bill. Thank you Delegate Hurst.

Cliff Shaffer writes:

In theory, there are rules on the books for the conditions under which surveyors can come onto the property. These include proper advance notification. In practice, our experience is that MVP has totally ignored the rules. Yes, they periodically send out letters "giving notice". But that does not appear to have any relationship to when they actually come onto the property. There needs to be a way to hold companies accountable for following the rules. That means, a relatively easy way for landowners to penalize the company for breaking the rules, meaning forcing them to pay a fine.

Georgia Haverty writes:

MVP has denied my rights as a property owner and will do irreparable harm to me, my family, and our businesses.

Pamela Humphrey writes:

This measure is long overdue. Virginia landowners are being treated like serfs by the MVP machine with apparent approval by FERC. The merit of our data is negated The sanctity of our private property is invaded at will. We have been lied to repeatedly.
We, as landowners, are expected to obey the law while MVP and FERC ignore even their own guidelines. Either we all follow the rules or none of us should. Believe me, you don't want that.

Robin Austin writes:

As a victim of surveyor abuse I support this bill. Many hours have been spent watching for surveyors who did not come according to the dates in the letters. I know of many times when surveyors were on property without any notice.

Jenny Chapman writes:

Thank you, Del. Hurst for standing up for us!

Elizabeth T. Reynolds writes:

My sincere thanks, Del. Hurst for listening and taking action against this abuse.