(AP photo)

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that the company planning to build a natural gas pipeline across much of Virginia has the right to survey properties along the proposed route – and landowners do not have the legal right in Virginia to keep them off their property. The ruling applies to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but it appears likely to apply as well to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would cross parts of several counties in our region.

From the Associated Press: RICHMOND, Va. _ The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the company developing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in a lawsuit against a woman who sought to keep surveyors off her property. Hazel Palmer owns land in Virginia’s Augusta County along the route of the proposed natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina. The company went to court after she refused to allow surveys. She argued that because the company is organized under Delaware law, a Virginia law allowing surveying privileges shouldn’t apply. The court disagreed and ruled Thursday that Palmer’s property rights don’t allow her to exclude the surveyors. Pipeline spokesman Aaron Ruby says the ruling is consistent with every other state and federal court that has looked at the issue. Palmer’s attorney couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.