In order to make a good faith offer, we retain an independent real estate appraiser with professional qualifications to estimate the fair market value of land as determined by recent sales in the immediate vicinity of the property. Based upon the appraiser's market evaluation as well as other factors, we determine the fair market value to be used for negotiations.
Our intention is to also compensate landowners fairly for any damages incurred as a result of pipeline construction activities. Where disruption may be anticipated in advance and fair market value may be readily determined, we will negotiate for payments that are fair and reasonable. For example, payments for crop losses will be based on local market rates for the particular product. Where individual damage situations are unique, the Land Agent will negotiate specific compensation.
Following exhaustive good faith negotiations, if an agreement for the easement cannot be reached, the Federal Natural Gas Act provides that an interstate pipeline company, such as us, may obtain the necessary easement rights by eminent domain. Eminent domain is the governmental authority issued to pipeline companies that have been authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to acquire necessary property interests based on the public need for the proposed facility.
We begin each and every easement negotiation with the expectation that a mutual agreement can be reached with the landowner and that we will not need to exercise our eminent domain rights.
Please be assured that we do not and will not use eminent domain as a negotiating tool. We will exercise that right only as a means of last resort. In the event that we cannot reach an agreement with you and must obtain the easement interests through eminent domain, the court ultimately will determine the appropriate compensation in a valuation proceeding. At that time you have the right to present to the court reasons for the compensation you believe is appropriate.