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Utility asks court to drop two from condemnation suit

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

Columbia Gas Transmission asked a federal judge Monday to drop another defendant from its lawsuit over land for a fuel line to the Dominion power plant in Warren County.

Columbia sought easements on land owned by Cedarville LLC, E.I. Du Point De Nemours & Co., and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in the county to install a natural gas transmission line to the Dominion plant under construction. Attorneys for Columbia filed a complaint Aug. 3 in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

However, attorneys for Columbia on Monday filed a notice of voluntary dismissal with the court regarding the claim against E.I. Du Pont. The notice indicates the defendant had not served a motion for summary judgment against the plaintiff nor had the court set a trial date in the matter.

Columbia attorneys on Aug. 14 filed a similar notice seeking to dismiss Rappahannock Electric Cooperative from the suit.

The natural gas provider, represented by Richmond attorneys Travis A. Sabalewski and Justin M. Sizemore, claimed in the initial filing that talks with the owners of more than six acres sought for the easements fell through.

As of Monday, Warrenton-based Cedarville remained a defendant in the lawsuit. Online court records showed the complaint was served on Cedarville on Aug. 8.

Documents filed with the lawsuit show Cedarville owns 2.83 acres of property eyed for the easements. E.I. Du Pont owns 2.72 acres while REC holds 0.77. Maps show that the land sought lies along U.S. 340-522, crosses Va. 658 (Rockland Road) and would cross a future connector to Rockland Road.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Columbia Gas to build and operate 2.47 miles of 24-inch diameter, lateral pipeline and related facilities to enable the utility to transport natural gas for Virginia Power Services Energy Corp. Inc. to a new power generation facility under construction in Warren County, according to the complaint filed in the court.

The complaint states condemnation is necessary because Columbia had not been able to negotiate terms with the landowners.

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