Kinder Morgan Pipeline Could Be Stopped In Its Tracks

Last month, the Kinder Morgan Utopia East pipeline project suffered a serious blow when a Wood County court dismissed its eminent domain proceedings.  The court determined that Kinder Morgan could not statutorily compel landowners to let them construct a pipeline across their properties.  The pipeline company immediately filed an appeal in the 6th District Court of Appeals.  On November 8, 2016, landowners opposing similar claims filed by Kinder Morgan in Wayne County received a stay of their eminent domain proceedings pending the decision of the Wood County appellate court.  If this trend continues, it seems Kinder Morgan’s pipeline project could come to a standstill until this issue winds its way through the Ohio judicial system.  It is unclear if Kinder Morgan will try to speed up this process through expedited briefing schedules alone or if Kinder Morgan will seek extraordinary relief directly from the Ohio Supreme Court.  What is clear, however, is that without the power of eminent domain—or at least the threat of instituting an eminent domain action—the pipeline projects underway across Ohio could be facing a very rough road ahead.