Category: Uncategorized

Michigan Public Radio Covers Rover Gas Line Extension


Michigan Public Radio, always on top of truly important local issues, has covered much of the various gas line proposals between Nexus, Rover, and Spectra. The article, taken off of one of the radio piece, discusses the problems with FERC in its “rubber stamp” approach, but does not deal with the issue of whether pipelines are really a necessary part of our national mineral rights policy. This issue is a close issue, and not subject to simple up or down responses. This blog only confirms that a simple response to the situation, if there is one, does not necessarily exist. FERC should be looking at all the alternatives, and then make reasoned decisions based upon what it learns.



Paul Gierosky isn’t what you might expect in an anti-pipeline activist. He’s a businessman. He and his wife Elizabeth have been renovating their dream home in fast-growing Medina County, in northeast Ohio, for the past two years. Sitting among the trees, it’s got the feel of an upscale cabin, with wood-beamed ceilings and large windows.

“And we wanted to be able to see the land, because it’s so beautiful. So really from every room you can see outside and see the property,” says Elizabeth Gierosky.

ET Rover Route Change Results In Happy Landowners

There are hundreds of happy people in Michigan today, knowing that the ET Rover project will not impinge upon their properties.  For the past year, owners have been complaining that the ET  Rover project is ambiguous and confusing in terms of route selection.  Today’s announcement that ET Rover will share existing pipelines through Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties comes  as a relief to those individuals who thought they would be saddled with the new pipeline.  Many landowners in Lenawee and Washtenaw County are still facing the possibility of having a pipeline placed on their properties.  Attached is the article published on Monday evening by the Detroit Free Press. What an exciting time for so many who were near losing much of the use of their respective properties.

A large natural-gas transmission pipeline proposed for construction through southeast Michigan will now impact far fewer counties.

A deal with an existing pipeline operator means the ET Rover pipeline will no longer be built in Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Genesee, Shiawassee and Lapeer counties, Rover Pipeline announced Monday.



John Mogk Provides Criticism of Kelo in Poletown

Professor John Mogk of the Wayne State University Law School has provided another opinion to The Detroit News in which he claims that the article written by Jesse Hathaway regarding “Re-evaluating eminent domain” simply does not accurately reflect what is necessary for Detroit. Professor Mogk’s position is that economic development is necessary and the land assembly is not possible without eminent domain.

To the contrary, blight removal will create enough land for appropriate land assembly. If an area is blighted, even the houses in good condition may be taken in order to clear up the blight of the overall area.

In addition, Mr. Mogk contends that as along as there is “good” economic development, the private profiteers will not take advantage of the system. This sounds very much like what I used to hear in the early 1980’s, when the Economic Development Corporation Act provided for acquisition in order to allow economic development and benefit the tax base of a community as a whole. Rather than creating such economic development, the Economic Development Corporation Act resulted in a Cookie Jar for friends and relatives of elected officials to enjoy the special benefit of being able to acquire land at a deep discount, then receive special government financing, all in order to obtain fees for development. All too often the end result was a foreclosure four years later.

Professor Mogk is well intentioned. All of us want to see the City develop and improve. However the simple need of eminent domain is not so simple and will not be so safe for the economic well being of our community.


Whatever application Jesse Hathaway’s Jan. 8 article, “Re-evaluating eminent domain,” has to the rest of the country, it has none to a city, Detroit, that is desperately in need of economic development to alleviate unemployment and increase its tax base.

The use of eminent domain for economic development is not available in Detroit or anywhere else in Michigan. While the U.S. Constitution permits the use of eminent domain for economic development, Michigan’s Constitution was amended in 2006 to prohibit its use to take property from one private owner for the transfer to another to achieve economic development, no matter how beneficial the transfer might be for the public good in alleviating unemployment and increasing the tax base. That is not the good news.


Rover Pipeline Moves Forward In Michigan

The Rover pipeline land agents are moving forward seeking entry onto properties for survey purposes. 

Michigan law provides that surveys may be conducted prior to the filing of a condemnation complaint or even the receipt of project approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the Michigan Public Service Commission.

The issue as to entry is the just compensation to be paid.  If trees are removed, thereby damaging the property, the pipeline company is obligated to pay for the losses incurred.  However, the notion of treble damages will probably not apply because the pipeline trespass is not for the benefit of timber production.  At the same time, one should expect the pipeline company to verify, in writing, that it will attempt to mitigate any damage and will pay for any losses.

The Rover Pipeline still requires Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval.  Apparently the pipeline has moved from Oakland County to the north in order to avoid the more urbanized areas.  The route follows what was called “Enbridge Line 6B” but veers off course in order to avoid a number of environmental impediments.

Patience and courtesy to Rover, despite one’s frustration with the project, is an imperative for all.  The pipeline does nothing for Michigan residents.  The whole notion that this pipeline provides energy production and is helping America is probably hogwash.  At the same time, if the Federal government through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deems the pipeline needed, one can well expect this project to move forward next year.

Very few properties will likely be taken by the pipeline.  There will be damages (sometimes substantial) in many instances.  Rover will understand that it is duty bound by Michigan law to provide an appraisal and a good faith written offer premised upon the appraisal.  One can expect that Rover Pipeline will perform in an appropriate fashion, or Rover Pipeline will face the difficult consequences of a challenge.

Please refer to the “What We Do” page of the nationaleminentdomain E-Mail address for additional owner information.

The Railroad Commission Places Its Toe In The Water On Pipeline Permits

The Railroad Commission of Texas is what most States call “Public Utility” or “Public Service Commissions”.  The regulation by the Railroad Commission is tantamount to absolute control of a use through the court system.

The question of whether a proper and necessary license with real issues raised is still festering in the Railroad Commission.  The Denbury decision has created certainty that the delegation is required.

The New York Times

The Railroad Commission of Texas — which regulates the state’s 426,000-mile network of natural gas, hazardous liquid and other pipelines — has offered rules aimed at clarifying when pipelines qualify as “common carriers,” a status indicating availability for public use and enabling companies to seize private land using eminent domain. The agency is accepting comments on the proposal until late August.

The proposal would require companies to submit documentation supporting a common carrier claim and give the commission 45 days to review an application. Currently, companies seeking common carrier status need only to mark a line on a permit application — an honor system that has spurred legal battles over eminent domain claims.