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      1. The piece was great.

        AFAIK, the pipeline operator is entitled to eminent domain for the pipeline ROW but not for the ancillary facilities (compressor/pump stations, staging yards, maintenance buildings etc). Williams should not be able to construct ancillary facilities on your property without your permission. Things may have changed but I doubt it.

        Also, the pipeline operator is responsible for maintaining the ROW. Having you responsible for maintaining his ROW is nuts.

        Be skeptical of the claims made by the Williams land agent.

        Good luck.

  1. Anne,
    I just read your NY times editoriItal. I was reading it to my partner and couldn’t make it through. I guess it hit home…..the trilliums, rhodendron, columbine and swaths of trees cut. We too are dealing with Wilii nams in NY. THey proposed the COnstitution Pipelin in 2012 which would run from Susquahannah County PA to Scoharie COunty NY(124 miles).We have had some success delaying FERCS draft EIS for one year. We have been blessed with insubordinate landowners and state agencies that are stepping up to the plate.

    My comments to FERC were regarding Williams compliance record in PA and COlorado over the last couple of years along with some history of their Transco Pipeline. THe entire EIS is dependent upon FERC’s “assumption” that this company is going to do what it says and I feel I have showed that they do NOT. THe three recent explosions seem to that document their noncompliance has finally caught up with them. The US chemical and Safety board, who is investigating the incidents, statesthat with strong corporate oversight it is unlikely that a company could have so many incidents in so short a time. But somehow I’m guessing you are aware of this.

    THank you for the poignant account of your neck of the woods. You articulated so accurately the way we feel here. I think something is changing and I believe we can keep this company out. Please let me know if we can be of any help.

    take care,
    Rachel Soper

  2. I just read your piece in the NY Times about the prospects of a pipeline going through your family’s property in Pa. The prospects of it disturb me, even though I do not live there. You noted that residents are banding together to try to fight Williams, eminent domain, etc. You did not note, however, if they have an organization which one can support, sign petitions for, write letters, etc. I already plan to write the two California Senators in DC with a reference to your article because we face similar things here. Let readers know how they can help!

    1. The issue of eminent domain is tricky. Companies similar to Williams Partners have and are attempting to use it to gain access for fracking and pipe lines. In Pennsylvania it was rule by the legal system not an option for Williams as they are not a governmental body. An example can be found from Kentucky too. Williams Partners would like to have the same power as a public utility and have eminent domain as a tool for development.

  3. Hello Ann,

    I am writing from Australia, where something similar happened. It that case a complete row of properties were deemed to be acquired by a development company for an airport enlargement plan. If you can, try to get a movie called “The Castle” which depicts the fight of the families all the way to the High Court of Australia and won. You’ll enjoy it and have a good laugh about Aussie humour more importantly however, it shows that corporations cannot act like “gods”.

    Best, Thomas

  4. Hello Ann,

    Thank you for this great article and information regarding how the shale fracking industry is driving a very big nail in the coffin of our land and environment.
    I live in Oh and the great minds of this state have allowed other states to ship to Ohio the toxic liquid waste from the other states as well as what is created in Oh, fracking sites for deposit into abandon gas and oil wells.
    If you read the quantity in gallons of toxic waste that is being generated in the this industry the number of gallons are in the millions.
    The Phd chemists that I have spoke with about the toxic waste informed me that there is no way to reclaim the water once is has been polluted with the secret chemicals used buy the industry.
    It will have to be a very strong voice from all of us to change this tragedy to land and the environment.

    Looking forward to reading your book!


  5. Hi RIchard,
    I just wrote to Anne explaining that we are going through a similar process here with Williams’ “Constitution” Pipeline. What i forgot to mention to her was there is a second Pipeline that hasn’t filed yet with FERC that proposes to run right next to it-perhaps in the same easement. These Piplelines are all coming out of Susquhannah COunty PA-the “sweet spot” for fracked gas. And most of it is headed for export which will drive the price up. In our area, we have been promised cheap natural gas along the way which is very tempting for local lawmakers and much of the public. These companies are very savvy.

    I think Ann posted the FERC docket number on her blog. The more comments the better. ALso, one of the issue that affect us all is the climate and we have two prominent researchers here at Cornell University that have been collecting data and publishing peer reviewed research on the climate ramifications of shale gas extraction. They both say it is worse than coal and seem to be proving it. I’m not sure what the word limit is on these comments but I will send you a recent article and some background about it in a seperate comment to you. We should all be writing to anyone who listen regrding this issue-letters t the editor, public officials, our neighbors and family.
    thanks for being involeved!

  6. I just read your piece in the NY Times about the prospects of a pipeline going through your family’s property in Pa. I can’t respond here the way I’d like to. Disgusting it is that we place more value on natural gas and the rights of a few well heeled carbon entrepreneurs, than on the rights of property owners, such as your sister and your friend Steve, and the other indigenous inhabitants of the land. I wish I had a rocket launcher.

    Good luck.


  7. Richard,
    The Cornell scientists that I mentioned are Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth. They have a website along with others called “Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for healthy Energy” where all of the current science is posted. They have been very active in trying to convince the State of California to avoid Fracking. Here is Ingraffea’s letter to the times last year that sums up the climate and fracking in a nutshell. : edit_tnt_20130728&tntemail0=y&_r=1&

    Since that article came out, the group published a study(among several others) showing methane emissions from fracking in Southwester PA was 100-1000 times above background!
    ( ).

    It is a race against time to get this data out. They are doing an amazing job and we are grateful that they are working on this.


    Below is some background on an article out this week that I sent to my town board and others regarding the recent Study by Robert Howarth entitled “”A bridge to nowhere: Methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas”. I apologize if I have overwhelmed you!

    There was a recent article in the TImes “Picking Lesser of Two Climate Evils”.
    The article included the recent paper published by Robert Howarth of Cornell
    titled “A bridge to nowhere: Methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint
    of natural gas”(he and Ingraffea acurately predicted methane leak rates from
    shale gas in a peer reviewed paper published in 2011-actually, they were being
    conservative the leak rates are proving to be even higher…).

    The Times article also included critisism of Howarths findings, as to be
    expected. A response to the Times article was just posted by Joe Romm…you can
    read his profile at the bottom of the article. In Romm’s article, he interviews
    Drew SHindell of Nasa who was one of the lead authors of the recently released
    IPPC report(the United Nations body which assesses research on climate change
    and synthesises it into major ‘assessment’ reports every 5–7 years).

    Ingraffea and Howarth have been citing SHindell’s research in their papers and
    Ingraffea uses one of his graphs in his lecture. In case those of you that were
    at his presentation don’t remember the graph, here is the breakdown:

    There are 4 scenarios plotted on the graph. The red zone(danger zone) on the
    graph was when we are projected to reach 2 degrees celcius(tipping point that
    most scientists agree on). On the same graph, the following lines are laid out:
    1)Business as usual would bring us to the “red(danger) Zone” by 2043.
    2)If we did everything we could to reduce Co2 starting in 2010, it would delay
    reaching the red zone by 2 years. (CO2 stays in the atmosphere for close to
    1000 years-whats done is done)
    3)If we reduce methane and black carbon(diesel trucks for example)(assuming
    natural gas was discontinued or leaks were successfully adressed), the climate
    is much more responsive-delays red zone to 2060
    4)If We reduce CO2, methane and black Carbon…we never reach the red zone.

    This assumes we started doing this in 2010. Perhaps the graph was updated in the
    recent Howarth paper with the new data from the latest IPCC report.

    Please consider that this data doesn’t include the leaking Methane and CO2 from
    meltingpermafrost that scientists have been measuring. Also, according to
    Ingraffea’s most recent paper, based on the PA DEP database, the projections for methane leakage for unconventional wells is very high-20% at 3-4 years and 40%
    at 6-7 years.

    I just wanted to give you some context for Joe Romm’s article. I hope you will
    read it. Forget about all of the other issues around shale gas extraction for a
    moment and just consider this. Everytime there is a pipeline built, this
    industry expands and makes it harder to change course. According to SHindell
    and ROmm and Ingraffea and Howarth and others…….we MUST change

    WHat if they are wrong? The problem is we won’t actually know until after a
    tipping point happens. THe “Precautionary principal” should apply here… in my
    humble opinion.

    THanks for considering. Here’s the article….


  8. Does anyone know where the “eminent domain” powers being asserted for this pipeline are coming from? The State? The Feds? What legal precedents? After all, this is a private-sector, for-profit firm, not a government unit like the Department of Transportation that can take land for a road. Eminent domain itself has been criticized quite a bit, e.g., the New London (Connecticut) urban redevelopment case that ended up in the Supreme Court.

  9. Ann – I just moved to PA and have visited Tucquan Glen. It is truly gorgeous. Please let me know what I can do to help save this beautiful part of our country. Kelly Delaveris.

  10. Dear Ms. Neumann,
    For reasons of no importance to you, my 7/13 issue of the Sunday Times sat in its blue wrapper until today. I just read your Op Ed and was so moved I wanted to write you immediately.

    Everything in this world should not be put through the cash nexus. Your sister says that eloquently, and you quote her at the end of your paper.

    I was thinking as I read the beginning of the piece and looked at the picture, that I would love to see this country. And it belongs to me more than it can ever belong to Williams.

    I have nothing profound to offer, other than to say I would happily donate some money to a lawsuit against this seizure. This is theft and sacrilege. I loved your argument to the peevish Mr. XXX.

    I plan to use this op ed to teach my early US History class about eminent domain. States used to devolve their powers of ED to rail road companies that would give property owners along proposed routes a token one dollar. The explanation? The RR companies were augmenting the value of the land by building a RR. So even if one’s property were sliced in two, or reduced along its edges, subject to noise and pollution, it was being enhanced in cash value, allegedly. In essence, the Rail road company was doing one a favor. There always seem to be excuses for corporations’ stealing and desecrating.

    I hope you can defeat this project. At least, from this way I understood the story, Williams has no just cause to take land merely to avoid an expense. This is a perversion of Eminent Domain, and any legal argument that would defend it is perverse.

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