MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – The West Virginia Supreme Court is refusing to allow the developer of a proposed natural gas pipeline to survey landowners’ property without their permission.
Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Robert Irons ruled in August 2015 that pipeline officials hadn’t proved the project would provide sufficient public use to justify entering private property without an owner’s permission.
Mountain Valley Pipeline appealed, arguing the survey work would not be invasive. Two landowners, however, argued that surveyors who enter private property without permission violate a basic right.
The 300-mile pipeline would transport natural gas from Wetzel County to another pipeline in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
Four justices upheld Irons’ ruling on Tuesday, with Chief Justice Menis Ketchum dissenting.