Rutter & Roy, LLP
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Monmouth Executive Center
Freehold, NJ 07728
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Rutter & Roy Offers Five Legal Tips for Planning Natural Gas Pipeline Projects
Attorneys Lead Session at IRWA Education Conference
FREEHOLD, N.J., June 27, 2016 – Attorneys play a critical role in the early planning and development of federally-regulated pipeline projects by saving time, money and helping to avoid potential show-stoppers, according to Michael K. Rutter and Christine A. Roy, partners in the regional law firm of Rutter & Roy LLP (formerly Watson, Stevens, Rutter & Roy). The attorneys led an education session at the International Right of Way Association’s 62nd Annual International Education Conference held earlier this month in Nashville, Tennessee.
During the session, titled, “Planning for Federally Regulated Pipeline Projects: A Legal Perspective,” Roy and Rutter offered five legal tips while highlighting the role that lawyers can play from the inception of a natural gas pipeline project through acquisition, construction, restoration and beyond. They shared their extensive experience working with major interstate pipeline clients in New Jersey’s highly regulated energy environment, explaining how with proper planning, major issues can be identified and avoided.
According to Rutter & Roy, attorneys should get involved early on in the planning phase of a pipeline project. They offered the following five tips to help ensure success:
- Identify the construction start date and work backwards from there. Milestone scheduling is a crucial part of the planning phase. To ensure that a project’s required in-service date is met, several factors must be taken into consideration including the time needed to acquire necessary permits, and the land acquisition schedule.
- Plan for appeals. It’s important to budget for appeals at the outset. Don’t fail to plan for this in hopes that permits will not be appealed. The latest trends suggest they will be appealed, so it is wise to plan ahead.
- Don’t try to save money putting appraisals off until you are ready to condemn. Appraisals are time-consuming and will push back your milestone schedule if you order them at the last minute.
- Keep to the milestone schedule when attempting to amicably acquire property interests. Allow enough time for negotiation but, if you are unable to come to an agreement by the milestone schedule deadline, be ready to condemn.
- Start with friendly negotiations with landowners prior to filing a condemnation action. While this is not always a requirement in federal court, conducting good faith negotiations in a jurisdiction where such negotiations are required at the state level will ultimately reflect positively on your company.
Since its founding in 1909, Rutter & Roy has focused on the complex areas of energy, infrastructure and environment, primarily in New Jersey and surrounding states. The firm’s team of attorneys has extensive experience in environmental law, eminent domain and land use and zoning, as well as commercial real estate, waste management, project planning and appeals.