Eminent domain laws at heart of suit challenging Bayou Bridge Pipeline, law professor says

By Carrie Bradon | Nov 19, 2018

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The Center for Constitutional Rights is suing the owners of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in the Atchafalaya Basin claiming that Energy Transfer Partners violated constitutional law by using the land without consent from the landowners. 

At the heart of the dispute is the belief by the Center for Constitutional Rights that Energy Transfer Partners, who built the pipeline, had no right to do so, as the land is not their property but the property of hundreds of landowners in Atchafalaya Basin. 

In addition to the claims that the pipeline is unconstitutional, the Center for Constitutional Rights is also challenging whether or not Louisiana actually has the right to use eminent domain laws for pipelines. 

William Quigley, a law professor from Loyola University, recently spoke with the Louisiana Record explaining why eminent domain is being questioned now. “Only now have the families been sued by the pipeline to expropriate their land,” Quigley said. 

According to Quigley, the law is unconstitutional because pipeline companies are not being required to seek permission from government agencies before they go on to seek eminent domain in the state, whereas other states require pipeline companies to first secure a permit from public service commissions before taking such action. 

“It is a ridiculous system when the pipeline can be 90 percent constructed but still asking the courts for permission to do what they have already done,” Quigley said. 

The suit is scheduled to go to trial Nov. 27 in the St. Martin Courthouse.

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