Monday, June 18, 2018

Senate Committee OKs Pipeline Eminent Domain Landowner Bill Of Rights Legislation

The Senate Judiciary Committee Monday approved and reported out Senate Bill 1199 (Rafferty-R- Montgomery) providing for a landowners’ bill of rights in cases of eminent domain, including by private entities like pipeline companies.
The bill requires Office of Attorney General to prepare a written statement that includes a bill of rights for a property owner whose real property may be acquired by a governmental or private entity through the use of the entity’s eminent domain authority.
The written statement must then be available on the Attorney General’s website and a copy of this written statement must be physically presented to each affected landowner by the entity seeking eminent domain in advance of the acquisition.
“Pipeline construction can lead to a number of economic benefits, but a number of extremely troubling problems have been reported with the installation of this particular pipeline,” said Sen. John Rafferty, prime sponsor of the bill. “In too many cases, the company has demonstrated a total disregard for the rights of homeowners. It is critical for lawmakers to do our part to ensure these landowners can use every option at their disposal to have these problems addressed.”
“Property rights are protected by both the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.  However, when the Public Utilities Commission granted Sunoco, a private corporation, the right of eminent domain for the building of their Mariner pipelines these rights were ignored.  The citizens of Pennsylvania need and deserve to have a Pennsylvania Property Owner’s Bill of Rights,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester), a co-sponsor.
“Many landowners do not have the financial resources to consult an attorney when facing an eminent domain claim,” Sen. Rafferty said. “At the very least, any Pennsylvania landowner facing eminent domain should be provided with an adequate explanation of the process so they can understand all options that may be available going forward.”
The bill now goes to the full Senate for action.
Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) serves as Majority Chair of the Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-6599 or sending email to:  Sen. Daylin Leach serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-5544 or send email to:

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