My question involves an easement in the state of Mississippi. A power company wants to run a 16 inch carbon dioxide pipeline from a coal powerplant across land (two separate tracts)that we purchased for a timber plantation. They made a initial low ball offer and I rejected it. I’m military and am finishing a career and looking forward to retiring on the land around my family.
We bought the land approx 200 acres 3 years ago at a bargin because the timber had already been cut and not replanted. We are not wealthy, and have a large monthly note. We cleared the land and replanted loblolly pines hoping to harvest in 20 years at retirement, then replant for our children. The power company already had a 125 foot easement across the entire property with high tension power transmission lines. Now, they want another 50 feet for the pipeline along side the powerlines. They hired a realestate company to deal with all of the landowners in the pipeline path. They claim that they will only use a total of 3.5 acres and have offered about $7500 (the land value only).
They invited me to counter offer their lowball offer (state law gives them the right to the easement, but they must pay fairly). I am not skilled at figuring how much to ask for, but am not interested in just breaking even on what I do not want to begin with. My trees on a part of what they will destroy are only 2 years old, and I’ve spent thousands clearing some of what they will use now. They say the timber (saplings) have very little value, but what about in the future? Also, I already pay taxes on about 8 acres they use and now it will be 3.5 more…I’ll pay taxes on this land that I cannot use…forever. It doesn’t seem fair.
Also, now, they want to appraise the tracts and get a per acre price, however some is swamp and not worth what the prime dry land that they want.
We wanted to eventually build a subdivision on the front highway frontage, or sell house lots. Will the pipeline decrease value? Is it dangerous or just a turn-off? (there are only 4000 miles of new technology carbon dioxide pipeline in the entire US).
Can anyone please tell us what we need to consider? I’m afraid that I’ll hate my decision later. Could we ask for yearly pay from their profit? Free electricity from the powerlines? They pay the tax on acres they use? And what is good $compensation just from the fact of they are putting a pipeline across the middle of my land? I’m well aware that they want it as cheap and permanent as possible as soon as possible. We honestly planned to suryey and either sell parcels for homes or build and sell homes. I told the pipeline / power company that we intended to do exactly that and they askes twice for our plans…I had to state that we did not have any yet, but planned to begin in December. They are having an appraisal done right now. Should we proceed with a survey and development plans or would it look fake?
After reading a Mississippi case law, I think that they cannot use the existing easement because it is for a different product (power and now gas). At least they have to pay again. I’ll check as to whether they can use the existing easement.
Also, their proposed contract wants the easement given to sucessors (I’m taking this to mean any other company who buys them out can use the easement without re-negoitating). Can we non-assign the easement only for the original power company? Can we lease or place terms on the easement?