Florida may be one of the sites for the next battle over the building of a pipeline, and the rights of property owners could be at stake. Already, eminent domain has been used to seize 160 homes in the planned path of the pipeline, which will run through Alabama and Georgia as well as Florida, and property values have plummeted for some homes that were not seized.
Known as the Sabal Trail, the pipeline will extend more than 500 miles carrying fracked natural gas. Environmentalists have joined property owners in opposing its construction since it will destroy nearly 2,000 wetlands systems and pose a threat to several endangered species. People who get their drinking water from the Florida Aquifer may also be at risk.
Construction began on the pipeline in May 2016. It is a joint project of NextEra Energy and Duke Energy. There will be five compressor stations built along the path, and this could create serious environmental problems in nearby residential communities. Even properties in its path may be affected. In Osceola, Florida, a condominium owned by Disney had to be condemned after a sinkhole appeared near the pipeline.
Some property owners might believe that eminent domain laws mean that they cannot fight government attempts to seize their property, but this may not be the case. People who are facing the loss of their property, whether in connection with the Sabal Trail pipeline or some other activity, might want to speak to an attorney about their rights to defend and keep property. Furthermore, an attorney may also be able to assist them in ensuring that they are paid fairly for their property if the government does seize it through eminent domain.