LITTLE VALLEY, NY - 2 On Your Side has been following the eminent domain cases against landowners, along the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline.
The Northern Access Pipeline would cut through Western New York from northern Pennsylvania to Niagara County. Some people who live along the proposed route are fighting action for National Fuel to use their land through eminent domain.
Camp Duffield is a 137-acre campground in Delevan, Cattaraugus County. It has been against the Northern Access Pipeline, saying the project would affect business there. The campground suffered a loss Thursday in the courtroom.
Attorneys for National Fuel left Cattaraugus Court in Little Valley all smiles. A judge granted National Fuel easement rights to build the Northern Access Pipeline through Camp Duffield, if the pipeline was ever approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. In April, the agency denied National Fuel water permits, which are needed for construction. Attorneys for Camp Duffield remain positive.
"I's not like National Fuel will be going out tomorrow and clearing land and beginning construction," said Matthew Pelsky, an attorney for the camp.
Camp Duffield says National Fuel wants to build part of the Northern Access through the east side of the campground.
"Concern from the environmental portion was potential soil erosion, damage to the campground," he said.
National Fuel filed eminent domain cases against 16 landowners, including Camp Duffield, saying the utility company needs to pursue eminent domain in case it gets state approval for the pipeline. Now, a judge has granted easement rights there saying National Fuel has met all provisions to the state's eminent domain law.
Because of this, Camp Duffield is entitled to receive $390,000 in compensation from National Fuel. Other landowners facing eminent domain, like Lia Oprea of Sardinia, hope the outcome of their cases are different.
"At least put an abeyance or postpone it, so that we stop incurring, it's quite costly to go to court to fight National Fuel," Oprea said.
The eminent domain cases against landowners opposed to the pipeline continues next Tuesday, June 6. That's when a group of property owners including Oprea will be in Erie County Court.