When you voted “yes” or “no” in this past year’s election you probably weren’t thinking too heavily about eminent domain (unless you were in Virginia!). But it turns out that America’s push towards energy independence will come at the expense of property owners nationwide. According to blumberg.com, the natural gas industry estimates that 450,000 miles of pipelines will need to be built in the next 25 years in order to accommodate America’s energy needs. As an example, in order to provide the eastern half of the United States alone with 20% of it’s energy requirements through wind power by 2030, between 170,000 and 20,0000 miles of new transmission lines (plus corridors to accommodate them) must be built, according to a 2011 study conducted for The National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
This raises many issues, not the least of which is whether or not the power companies have the power to condemn property for their use (which varies between the states). While pipeline companies often negotiate their right-of-way agreements 5% will require a court proceeding, according to the article.