Bold Alliance and Appalachia region landowners’ federal court challenge to the abuse of eminent domain by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is now proceeding at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, as part of a larger combined lawsuit filed by other regional, local and Tribal organizations, including Appalachian Voices (full list of plaintiffs below).
Bold argues in the lawsuit, initially filed in September 2017, that FERC’s granting of eminent domain — for projects like the Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline — violates landowners’ due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit details the serious flaws and unfair process currently available to landowners under FERC, noting that this case is the first opportunity that landowners on the MVP route have had to voice their concerns over eminent domain since FERC seized their property via eminent domain in February — and yet Mountain Valley pipeline has already cleared the majority of the right-of-way of trees, and commenced full construction on a significant portion of the project.
“Denied the opportunity to raise statutory and constitutional challenges before Mountain Valley took and irreversibly altered their lands, and likewise denied a prompt post-deprivation hearing to raise such claims, landowners have been denied due process,” Bold’s attorney Carolyn Elefant argues in the opening brief in the case now before the D.C. Circuit.
David Bookbinder, Chief Counsel with the Niskanen Center, also filed a friend-of-the-court brief siding with Bold’s arguments in the case against the abuse of eminent domain for private gain (embedded below).
The expected briefing schedule for the case is as follows:
- FERC Brief due: Nov. 20
- MVP-Intervenor Brief: Dec. 4th
- Petitioners’ Reply Brief: Dec. 18
- Final Briefs due: Dec. 24
The case is Appalachian Voices et al. v FERC (USCA Case #18-1216). Plaintiffs include Bold Alliance and Bold Education Fund, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Wild Virginia, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Preserve Montgomery County, VA, Inc., Elizabeth Reynolds, Michael Reynolds, Steven Vance (in his official capacity as Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), Ben Rhodd (in his official capacity as Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe), Preserve Craig, Inc., Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Greater Newport Rural Historic District Committee, and a number of individual landowners.
Bold Statement of Issues Petition for Review of FERC Certificate for Mountain Valley Pipeline