Landowners in Virginia file Appeal to D.C. Court of Appeals in constitutional fight for private property rights
FOR RELEASE ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. & ROANOKE, VA
Landowners on the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline quietly filed a Notice of Appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in their constitutional fight challenging the delegation of eminent domain power from Congress to FERC and MVP.
“No court has said that the Landowners’ underlying non-delegation argument is wrong. Landowners just want their day in court, plain and simple. They want the merits of their case to be heard,” said Mia Yugo, Attorney for Landowners.
The Appeal was filed by Landowners in Virginia represented by Attorneys John R. Thomas, Jr. and Mia Yugo of the Roanoke law firm of Hafemann Magee Thomas.
In May, the lower court dismissed the case without hearing the merits because it held that it [the District Court] did not have the power to hear the case. Instead, the lower court concluded that the constitutional challenge should be raised with the agency, not the District Court.
Landowners are now asking the higher court to reverse the lower court’s decision and allow the substance of the case—which challenges the legitimacy of FERC and MVP’s power to grant certificates and take private property—to actually be heard on the merits.
Landowners argue that the regulatory agency—FERC—should not have the power to decide if Congress did something unconstitutional when it passed the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and delegated broad legislative powers to FERC and private companies seeking to take private land.
“The separation of powers doctrine exists for a reason. When it comes to deciding the legitimacy of its own power—and the constitutionality of Congressional action—FERC cannot be judge, jury, and executioner.” said Yugo.
Mia Yugo, Attorney for Landowners
Law Firm of Hafemann Magee Thomas
11 Franklin Rd., Roanoke, VA