Given the unprecedented level of energy infrastructure development that is occurring across the United States, it now is more important than ever that pipeline companies engage with landowners in a respectful, informative and clear manner.
The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America’s member companies are committed to leading the interstate natural gas pipeline industry in building and maintaining strong, positive relationships with affected landowners. We recognize the importance of fair and respectful treatment of landowners impacted by the projects we construct and operate that meet the vital energy needs of our communities and customers. We will work to adhere to the following commitments in a manner commensurate with the type, scope and location of individual interstate projects:
1. Respect and Trust
Positive, lasting relationships are built on mutual respect and trust. We will strive to understand landowners’ perspectives and help them understand ours through meaningful engagement.
2. Accurate and Timely Information
We will answer landowners’ questions about the project including the reason and need for the proposed project, the processes in place governing easement acquisition, certification, environmental review/permitting, construction, operation and maintenance of our facilities, safety, and the particulars of individual projects.
3. Negotiate in Good Faith
It is the responsibility of the project sponsor to work with landowners to attempt to reach a mutually agreeable easement. We will listen and strive to understand landowner concerns, and work to address those concerns in good faith. We will attempt to reach agreement with landowners in an honest, fair and reasonable fashion.
4. Responding to Issues
We will respond to landowner concerns in a timely fashion. To enhance direct communications and timely responses, we will provide landowners with a point of contact within the company, early in the project, to convey their questions and concerns. This point of contact will answer landowners’ questions or concerns, and provide general or project-specific information.
5. Respect the Regulatory Compact
Final approval for a project is not certain, and our interactions with landowners will reflect that understanding. Prior to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision, actions taken to negotiate easements or options are at the company’s risk because there is no guarantee the project will be approved.
6. Eminent Domain
We will begin every easement negotiation with the expectation that a mutual agreement can be reached and eminent domain rights will not need to be exercised. Further, we will be clear in communicating that federal eminent domain will not be exercised unless the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grants a certificate. Eminent domain will only be exercised as a means of last resort.
We will engage with affected stakeholders to garner input early in the project and strive to build relationships. We will introduce our industry to those who might not otherwise know about our industry’s benefits to the community and our industry’s dedication to safety.
8. Industry Ambassadors
We recognize that each company employee and representative is viewed as an ambassador for the industry. Our employees and representatives are trained to interact with stakeholders in accordance with these commitments. We will:
9. Ongoing Commitment to Continuous Improvement
We will routinely evaluate our landowner outreach and communication efforts to drive continuous improvements in our interactions, processes, policies, and procedures. Natural gas will remain a foundation of our energy economy and there will continue to be the need to construct, operate and maintain natural gas pipeline and storage infrastructure to meet the nation’s energy demand.