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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Pipeline Company Loses Eminent Domain Claim

(CN) - The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that an oil pipeline company can't take a railroad's property by eminent domain for a pipeline completed in 1931.

The Providence and Worcester Railroad and Mobil Pipe Line Co. were unable to reach an agreement to continue Mobil's lease, so the railroad took action to evict Mobil.

The railroad appealed the decision of the Energy Facilities Siting Board, which granted Mobil the rights to a portion of its pipeline on the railroad's property.

Justice Cowin agreed with the railroad that the governing law applies only to new pipelines, not to ones that already exist.

"(The law's) definition of 'oil facilities' includes only new pipelines," Cowin wrote. "Thus, Mobil's pipeline, which was completed in 1931, cannot be an oil facility because it is not new.

"It follows" the justice added, "that the board is without power ... to authorize the taking of an easement by eminent domain in this case."

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