Curtis Tate Published

Appeals Court Restores Jury Award In Mountain Valley Pipeline Case

An older man and woman sit at a table in a former school converted into a community center.
John Coles Terry III and his wife, Red Terry, in Bent Mountain, Virginia, on Friday, May 10, 2024.
Curtis Tate / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal appeals court has reinstated a larger jury verdict for some landowners affected by the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, decided in favor of a family whose land was condemned to build the controversial 303-mile natural gas pipeline.

A jury awarded the Terry family of Roanoke County, Virginia, more than $500,000 for an eight-acre easement taken by the pipeline’s builder.

A U.S. district judge then reduced the award to $261,000.

In a decision published on Tuesday, a three-judge panel reversed the district court’s judgment.

The decision comes as Equitrans Midstream, the pipeline’s builder, is working furiously to complete the project and has requested federal permission to begin operating by June 1.

The pipeline failed a water pressure test near the Terry property in Roanoke County on May 1.

State and local officials and residents have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny the pipeline approval to begin operating.

Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for Equitrans Midstream, said while the company believes the district judge was correct, “we look forward to concluding this outstanding issue and securing a final resolution in this matter.”