Lawsuit seeking clarity on eminent domain question ices attorney general's opinion

12/09/2013 09:11 AM

A group of landowners in the path of a proposed pipeline through Kentucky and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, have taken different routes to find out whether the pipeline builders can take land through eminent domain.

The landowners filed the suit last week in Franklin Circuit Court to clarify whether the builders of the pipeline to carry raw natural gas through parts of 13 counties would qualify to take land from holdouts through eminent domain. Earlier this fall, Stivers requested an opinion from the Attorney General Jack Conway on the issue. Conway said he was prepared to deliver in mid-December, but the lawsuit will delay that.

Conway told Pure Politics that his office policy is to not issue opinions on issues that have been challenged in court, but that he might still be able to weigh in to Stivers’ request through a letter of guidance. Pure Politics interviewed Conway at the Annual Farm Bureau Conference in Louisville on Friday.

Meanwhile, Conway said the Federal Department of Transportation has also received requests to determine if Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners qualify as a “common carrier.” And Conway said that the Department of Transportation would likely issue an opinion as early as this week.

The issue of eminent domain will play a role in the upcoming 2014 General Assembly with several lawmakers already pre-filing bills to prevent the use of eminent domain for this project.

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