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Local News

January 2, 2014

Area tree farmer: I will no longer support pipeline


Christopher Stockton, a spokeswoman for the Constitution Pipeline, said the company has been offering “fair compensation” to the landowners for the easements.

“The valuation of the easement is determined by the market value of land in the area as determined by independent sources such as county deed and tax records, local appraisers, real estate brokers and other real estate professionals,” Stockton said in an email to The Daily Star.

He such such factors as a property’s length, width, existing use and comparable sales in the area, as well as the impact to the remaining property, are all taken into consideration.

“In many cases,” Stockton wrote, “we have made offers up to three times the market value in order to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the property owner. If a property owner doesn’t believe the offer is fair, it is certainly his or her prerogative to not sign an easement agreement.”

Baxter told The Daily Star that Farm Family Casualty, the insurance company that issued the policy for his Bainbridge property, which includes a residence, would drop him as a customer if a pipeline is routed through his lot.

Stockbridge called that scenario of an insurance company canceling a policy due to the presence of a natural gas pipeline “highly unusual.”

“Williams operates more than 15,000 miles of pipeline and it has been our experience that insurance underwriters do not consider the presence of a transmission pipeline when determining the cost and coverage of property insurance,” he wrote.the

Scott Kurkoski, a lawyer who represents some landowners who have been presented with easement offers, said some landowners have succeeded in negotiating terms to agreements that left them satisfied and compensated appropriately.

The consequences of the pipeline construction, he said, could have a beneficial impact for those who want some clearings to improve hunting season opportunities.

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