Atlantic Coast Pipeline lawsuit: Judge rules in favor of landowners

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NELSON COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Sitting on the steps of his Nelson County home, Randy Whiting from Friends of Nelson is calling a judge's ruling a small victory against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

On Thursday, a Nelson County judge ruled that Dominion and the ACP need to provide landowners with specific dates on when they plan to survey properties, instead of a general time frame.

Whiting says while it will not stop the pipeline, the judge's ruling does send a message that Friends of Nelson and other anit-pipeline groups will hold Dominion to the letter of the law.

"Somebody is watching them. And that somebody, Judge Garrett, held them to the law," Whiting said about the ruling.

In Virginia, companies like Dominion are allowed onto a landowner's property to survey for projects like pipelines. However, the companies need to tell landowners when they plan to survey a property.

On Thursday, a judge ruled that when Dominion tells a landowner when it plans to survey, and there must be a specific time provided.

Whiting says the ruling sends a very clear message.

"It doesn't matter that you are a multi-national corporation. It doesn't matter that you spent millions of dollars in political realms in Virginia, this is the law and you're not above it," Whiting said about the ruling and what it says to Dominion.

The ACP sued 37 landowners in Nelson County over the right to survey their properties.

Dominion officials say they will provide more specific dates for the surveys and move forward with the lawsuits.

In the mean time, members of Friends of Nelson say they plan to continue fighting Dominion with a programmatic environmental impact study, which would determine if it is necessary to build the ACP.

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