A decision by the Supreme Court to repossess public land for a gas pipeline has ignited a new debate. While most people do not like to see good land ruined by pipeline installations, some argue that it may be necessary for the good of society. Eminent domain is the type of law that concerns the rights of governments when it comes to property owners in California and other states.
How eminent domain laws affect property owners
Eminent domain law involves the right of a local, state or federal government to take over private property and convert it into public use. It does not include seizing, forcibly selling or transferring property to use in private. In California, eminent domain laws state that the seized land or property must be used for public use and made for the public’s interest.
The Supreme Court ruling
Cases of eminent domain that involve the taking of land to build gas lines are often controversial and heavily debated. The Supreme Court has been called upon to investigate cases of fracked gas pipelines that destroy homes and cause miles of environmental destruction. A 2021 ruling was given in favor of a gas company that wants to build a pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.
Environmentalists and private property owners fear that the decision could give more power to large companies that want to take away state land. However, not every ruling is absolute, and legal analysts have pointed to various setbacks in the Supreme Court’s decision.
Protecting property owners’ rights
Laws prevent private property owners from being taken advantage of by more powerful governments or organizations. The laws provide for the public interest of everyone who ventures onto certain land and not just for companies wanting to make more money. An attorney with experience in eminent domain law may help private home or business owners understand their rights.