Spire, Landowners Spar Over Remediation to Right of Way Properties

By Benjamin Cox on April 1, 2024 at 9:30am

More lawsuits have been filed surrounding a natural gas pipeline that cuts through Scott, Greene, and Jersey counties.

Spire STL Pipeline has filed condemnation proceedings against 16 landowners, including a local banking agency, to get temporary easements to land along the pipeline’s right of way.

The Journal Courier reports that they spoke with Spire’s Director of Public Relations Jason Merrill about the company seeking the temporary easements to the properties to perform court-ordered restoration work along the right of way. The identity of the work that needs to be done was part of court documents and operation permit documents in the State of Illinois and with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The federal Central District Court of Illinois has ordered the company to fix severe damage along the right of way that the homeowners have claimed since the completion of the project.

Damaged farm ground along the right-of-way of the Spire Pipeline in Jersey County.

However, landowners have refused to let Spire back on their property because prior efforts to fix their land has only made matters worse – points told by the landowners themselves on an episode of What’s On Your Mind more than a year ago. Past repairs made by Spire have only been made on the surface level, as witnessed by WLDS News. The landowners have claimed that some of the repairs have caused further erosion, run off, disruption to agriculture, and destruction of some farm equipment.

Stunted corn growth along the pipeline’s easement in 2020.

The landowners have also continued to battle Spire in court seeking sanctions against the company for damages.

Both sides deny the other’s cooperation in getting the land fixed. Merill told the Journal Courier that the condemnation is the only legal option for Spire to gain access and attempt to remediate the situation. Landowners claim it is simply another work around rather than trying to fix the problems correctly.

Rulings in the cases are expected early this summer.