Natural gas companies; right of entry upon property. (SB324)

Introduced By

Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


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. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18104702D
01/08/2018Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
01/15/2018Passed by indefinitely in Commerce and Labor (12-Y 1-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
01/23/2018Impact statement from SCC (SB324)


Georgia Haverty writes:

A Pipeline Allegory

Once there was a Stranger who walked into my house. I told him to leave, but he told me that he had made a deal with the rulers of the Land, and they had told him he could walk into any house he liked.

The Stranger then took something precious from me. It was not worth very much, but had been handed down by my ancestors through the ages. The Stranger laughed when I tried to get it back, and said “don’t worry; I will give you a coin for this object. I get to decide what it is worth… and to me it is not worth very much.” (To me, it was worth all the coins in the Land).

Before the Stranger walked out, he left a bomb on my kitchen table. “This is for you, as a parting gift. Your neighbors want and need this - they told me,” he lied. “Oh - one more thing” he said looking over his shoulder with a sneer - “you must leave this bomb in place forever more. If it goes off, don’t call me. I will be long gone from this Land, disguised and with a different name. You won’t find me. You will be responsible for anything that happens.”

The End.

Georgia Haverty
Doe Creek Farm
(victim of right of entry)

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.

Terry Hrubec writes:

This is much needed and long over due!

Pamela Humphrey writes:

This is certainly a step in the right direction but I would wish for a requirement demanding "surveyors" provide proper identification and proof of licensure/certification when asked. When we asked for such things we we told, "I don't have to show you S#*t.

Larry Greene writes:

This would put the impetus on the natural gas company to prove to the State Corporation Commission that the proposed line was for "public use" rather than for a corporation's profit.

Nan Gray writes:

Sad that this failed.