Spectra backtracks on eminent domain in VDT

Sabal Trail tries to teach us how to read, plus redefining centuries of common law.

Joe Adgie wrote for the VDT today 3 December 2014, Sabal Trail: Accusations ‘lack any substance’,

Two representatives with Sabal Trail Transmission disputed complaints from property owners in correspondence with The Valdosta Daily Times and with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Lisa Connolly, general manager of rates and certificates for Sabal Trail, said that letters sent to property owners should be read in a different light than was presented.

“A fair reading of these letters confirms Sabal Trail’s position that it has not threatened to institute proceedings against landowners to acquire proprerty by eminent domain and demonstrates that [Sandra Jones’s] allegations lack any substance,” Connolly wrote to FERC on Monday.

Jones had sent letters to FERC on Nov. 19, contending Sabal Trail had illegally threatened eminent domain against her.

The first letter, dated Sept. 16, 2013, written by Sabal’s Right of Way manager Kitty Maidens, requested permission to enter the land for survey purposes.

“Granting survey permission provides us only access to your property to complete the necessary survey activities,” Maidens wrote. “It does not authorize us to put a pipeline on your land.”

Connolly noted that Jones had declined to mention that in her filing with FERC.

Sure, and pre-filing with FERC doesn’t lead to formal filing with FERC as Sabal Trail did two days after Jones’ letter.

And who said those “survey activities” were “necessary” anyway? Certainly not the landowners to whom Sabal Trail is using eminent domain to try to scare them into letting the pipeline company on their property. Instead, maybe some landowners will call the Sheriff to arrest Sabal Trail or their agents for trespass.

Oh, wait, Sabal Trail already has faced at least one criminal trespass charge! Sabal Trail’s Lisa Connolly declined to mention mention that in her filing with FERC.

The VDT also quotes Spectra’s Andrea Grover:

“I am quite confident that any objective reading of the letters will determine that the letters are intended to be informational and not threatening as suggested by a few people,” Grover wrote in an email on Monday. “The letters are a pro forma process developed to fully and transparently inform the remaining property owners who refused survey permission of the state law related to the survey process.”

She actually referred to the Georgia state eminent domain statute while claiming the Sabal Trail letters using it weren’t threats!

And the VDT quotes her as saying:

“These surveys are needed to fulfill Sabal Trail’s obligations to FERC, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other state environmental permitting agencies,” Grover wrote. “These letters were developed to take measured steps in explaining the reasons for the survey activities and then to explain the legal basis for Sabal Trail’s right to access property solely for survey purposes under Georgia state laws.”

That’s your problem, Spectra and Sabal Trail, that you signed a contract with FPL without asking the affected landowners first.

Just like it’s your problem that you made and agreement with MGAG to buy Sabal Trail gas without you or MGAG asking the affected cities first. Funny how Ms. Grover has already started to backtrack from what she told the VDT last week on that one, last night on WCTV.

The landowners, the cities, and the taxpayers and citizens of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida did not ask for this foreign invader pipeline from Houston. It’s not necessary, and Ms. Grover and Ms. Connolly should take their Sabal Trail back to their Spectral office building in east Texas.