Atmos Energy is using old easement agreements to replace old pipelines and build new ones. Landowner Condemnation Rights Attorney Philip Hundl talks about what landowners should do if Atmos Energy or another pipeline company uses old easement agreements to enter your land. Call or text 800-929-1725 for an appointment.
Summary of the Atmos Energy Using Old Easement Agreements Video
Hi, I’m Philip Hundl. I’m an attorney with my law practice focusing primarily on land litigation, which includes representing landowners facing condemnation, assisting undivided interest owners, partitioning land, or dealing with easements boundary lines. I help landowners with all aspects of land litigation.
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There’s been a lot of activity in the Northern part of Texas by Atmos Energy or Atmos Pipeline Company. They’ve got several projects. One’s called the WA Loop and one’s called the Line 73 Replacement.
These projects are doing various things. They’re replacing old pipelines already in the ground, or adding new pipelines parallel to the existing lines, and they’re attempting to do most of this using old easement agreements.
Get the Old Easement Agreement and Read It
These are all easement agreements that are from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’80s. So with these existing easement agreements, the first question is what’s the basis for what you want to do? Atmos, how are you doing this? Or why are you saying that you have an easement or a right to come on my property to do what you want to do?
Landowners should get a copy of that existing easement agreement from them and take a real good look at it, and go visit an attorney who deals in this type of work. You should make sure you understand the terms of that old easement agreement.
Just like new easement agreements, old easement agreements are not all created equal. They’re all very different with very different easement terms. Unfortunately, a lot of these old easement agreements are not very landowner friendly. Oftentimes they’ll allow pipeline companies the right to lay multiple pipelines in the ground. Sometimes they will specify the width of the pipeline easement.
Review the Existing Easement Agreement with an Experienced Attorney
I’ve seen some that are what are called blanket or broad easements that are not specifically defined. You need to know the characteristics of that old easement agreement so that you know what you’re working with. You need to know what rights and obligations the pipeline company has. Does the existing easement agreement provide an easement width? Is it pipelines plural, or is it a single pipeline?
I’ve seen this kind of form old pipeline easement agreement that’s about two pages long, and it says “pipelines”, but then that word is struck out and initialed. So the parties did not agree on multiple pipelines, they only agreed on one pipeline.
Atmos Energy Easement Needs Vary from Landowner to Landowner
As for Atmos, what they’re seeking from each landowner varies from tract to tract. In certain cases, they don’t think that they need to get a new agreement from the landowner or compensate the landowner. Sometimes they need a new pipeline easement agreement with temporary workspaces and access roads like any other new pipeline project that a pipeline company is doing. In some other cases they believe that they have a permanent easement but they just need a temporary workspace. Other times they think that they already have all of those things except the old easement agreement talks about paying the landowner for damages.
So once again, if you’re contacted by a right of way agent or Atmos, the first thing you should do is to ask for the old easement agreement. Then you should contact an experienced landowner condemnation rights attorney to make sure you understand the terms of that old easement agreement and the rights and obligations of Atmos.
Again these Atmos Energy projects are up in North Texas in Archer County, Parker County, Hunt County and various counties in the area. So there are lots and lots of folks being affected by this. Good luck.
Don’t Let the Pipeline Company Use Old Easement Agreements to Pay You Less than You Deserve
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