Landowner Questions & Answers
The Rover Pipeline Project is an interstate natural gas pipeline system that will transport 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/day) of natural gas through approximately 713 miles of 24-inch, 30-inch, 36-inch, and 42-inch diameter underground pipeline through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.
The following are questions and answers about landowner communications and contacts as well as the easement process, including the rights afforded to each landowner. If you are a landowner and have additional questions, please use the project’s toll-free number at 1-888-844-3718.
Property owners are entitled by law to receive compensation for having a pipeline on their property. Rover intends to work closely with each landowner to address specific questions or concerns they may have on the proposed route, safety protocols, operations, and environmental protections. In addition, Rover will document the landowners’ rights in a contract that the company will live by and fairly compensate impacted landowners for easements and crop impacts. It is our intent to live up to our promises to landowners and the community of openness, honesty and responsiveness to questions and concerns before, during and after construction and throughout operations.
A land agent’s role is to serve as the primary point of contact for landowners along the proposed Rover route. If you are a property owner that may be involved in the project, your land agent will meet with you throughout the project, share ongoing project information and timelines, and answer any questions you may have. They will also raise any concerns, comments or suggestions you have to appropriate members of the Rover Pipeline Project Team to make sure that your voice is heard and questions answered.
Land agents may also coordinate with landowners for survey permissions and ultimately easement agreements (i.e. a grant of easement) that meet landowners’ individual needs.
Qualified local real estate appraisers will conduct appraisals to help Rover Pipeline assess property values and how those values will be affected by pipeline construction. Rover Pipeline will base offers of compensation upon these professional appraisals. Easement payments are typically based upon two categories: 1) Permanent easement, and 2) Property/Crop Damages (non-taxable). Land values usually do not decrease due to the installation of pipelines or utilities. Improvements value could be affected by the installation of pipelines, which will be factored into the easement compensation. Rover has scheduled easement acquisitions to commence in November 2014.
Our goal is to reach an agreement with property owners through negotiations to sign an easement voluntarily at a fair price. Historically, we have reached such agreements with the vast majority of property owners involved with Energy Transfer pipeline projects. In a small number of cases, however, an agreement cannot be reached. At this point, various legal options are available both to property owners and Rover Pipeline.
Based on general market studies and research, appraisals and real estate principles, Rover Pipeline is unaware of any data that suggests a pipeline negatively impacts land values. In the event an appraisal does indicate a negative impact on home values, that reduction in value will be compensated for as part of the easement payment.
Pipelines are typically located well away from residences and in no event will the pipeline be located fewer than 25 feet to the centerline of the pipeline. In most, if not all cases, homes will not be located closer than a few hundred feet. Rover will be able to determine the exact distance from the pipeline to residences once we have completed surveying the proposed route.
Permanent structures or homes cannot be built on the permanent easement area. It is Rover Pipeline’s preference to have a few hundred feet of separation between the home and the pipe.
The final permanent easement will be 50 or 60 feet wide. Where there are two pipelines, Rover is requesting a 60-foot-wide permanent easement and where there is one pipeline proposed, we are seeking a 50-foot permanent easement. Additionally, we are also requesting additional temporary workspace of 25 to 100 feet for temporary work space. Rover may also need additional temporary workspace in certain areas, such as at road, railroad or stream crossings, to accommodate specific construction activities.
Compressor stations along the pipeline will be housed in thick-walled structures to reduce residual sound and will follow the FERC’s regulations for noise transmission. Regulations require that a compressor station’s average noise level does not exceed 55 decibels at nearest-noise sensitive area (e.g., residences, schools, hospitals, etc.).
For comparison, a normal conversation is 55 decibels and an automobile at 50 feet can be as much as 90 decibels.
Yes, in most cases property owners will be able to use the pipeline right-of-way just as they did before construction. Agricultural activities such as growing crops and pasturing livestock can resume as soon as the land is ready. To ensure safe, long-term operations, restrictions may apply, including, and typically limited to, no permanent structures built within the permanent easement and no trees planted within 15 feet of the pipe centerline and in some instances 25 feet.
No, Rover Pipeline is not a local distribution company and cannot provide individual residential gas service. We suggest that you contact your local distribution company and inquire about residential service from their distribution lines.
Under Federal Policy for natural gas that is transported for sale and crosses state lines, the pipeline system that is providing the transportation (e.g., Rover Pipeline) is governed by and certificated under the Natural Gas Act 1938 (“NGA”). Pursuant to the NGA, once (and if) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, Rover Pipeline will be afforded the right of eminent domain. It is our stated intent to use this authority as little as possible – only as a last resort – on this project.
The scope of the project and its purpose and need are evaluated at the Federal level, to preserve the free flow in interstate commerce and promote national energy and economic interests. Accordingly, the right of eminent domain does not exclude or distinguish between portions of the project in a particular state or area, but evaluates the regional and national benefits and necessity.
For any specific questions regarding FERC’s policies on eminent domain, Rover Pipeline would encourage landowners to reach out to FERC.
The Rover Pipeline is proposing to transport U.S. natural gas, which is widely known to be one of the most efficient and cleanest-burning fuels. In fact, factories manufacturing clean energy alternatives, such as wind turbines and solar panels, and energy efficient appliances are primarily powered by natural gas. The Rover Pipeline is committed to safely transporting a cleaner, low-cost alternative to conventional energy sources, such as propane, heating oils, and coal, which are common fuels in the Ohio and Michigan markets.