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Andrews v. Columbia Gas Transmission Corp.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20261
Nos. No. 07-3632, (6th Cir., 10/10/2008)

The Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that a natural gas company may clear a 50-foot right-of-way around each of its natural gas pipelines running through landowners' property. The company was granted a right-of-way in 1947, though the agreement did not specify the width of the easement. When the current owners purchased the property in 2000, the right-of-way was covered with pine trees. Then, in 2004, the gas company sought to clear a right-of-way around its pipelines on the property. The magistrate judge did not clearly err in concluding that a 50-foot easement was reasonably necessary and convenient for the inspection, operation, and maintenance of each of the pipelines. In addition, neither the applicable statute of limitations nor the doctrines of laches, estoppel, and waiver preclude the company from clearing the right-of-way 40 years after the trees were planted. Last, because the trees were inconsistent with the company's easement rights, the company was authorized to remove them and the landowners are not entitled to damages for the removed trees.