Landowners whose property may be affected by a new pipeline, or an expansion of an existing permanent easement, will be notified by Williams and advised how their property may be affected by the project proposal. This process normally begins with a request for permission for company representatives to conduct various ground surveys on the property.
Ground surveys are a preliminary first step in gathering information necessary for developing a pipeline proposal. When on-the-ground survey work begins, survey crews survey collect important data and assess environmental, geological, and archeological conditions. This process also includes considerable interaction with property owners along the proposed route so that their concerns can be assessed and, in many cases, become part of route plan modifications.
Generally, environmental field studies cause little or no disruption to landowners. Field crews will walk the pipeline study corridor and in some cases they may need to dig small holes or leave small stakes behind.
Steps for Acquiring Rights of Way (Easements):
Up front information
Williams representatives begin the process by contacting each landowner to request permission to survey and stake the preliminary route for environmental, engineering and construction evaluations. The goal is for all landowners to understand all proposed features of the pipeline, including the alignment, underground depth, pipe size, temporary and permanent width of the easement, and aboveground equipment prior to construction. A Construction Stipulation Agreement may be used to specify special requirements, which are mutually agreed upon.
Fair compensation to landowners
Williams is committed to dealing fairly with each landowner and paying each landowner for two things:A fair value, based upon market value principles and number of acres needed, for the privilege of establishing a permanent easement across their land. Williams will obtain a permanent easement, but the landowner retains ownership and use of the land. Damages to crops, grazing lands, timber or any structures directly caused by the construction and maintenance of the pipeline. Construction damages will be paid on the area affected by the actual construction. The settlement for damages to crops either can be paid in advance, based on records of local yields or can be paid after construction, based on the actual crop losses.
Prompt payment to landowners
After the conditions and the amount of compensation for an easement are reached, and the easement agreement is executed, a check will be issued to the landowner.
Advance notice of construction activities
Williams representatives will advise the landowner and tenant (if present) regarding the actual timing of construction, as far in advance as possible. This allows the landowner or tenant to schedule farming or other activities in ways that minimize problems for both parties.
Respect for ownership
The Landowner retains ownership of land. The easement (for right of way) only gives Williams the right to construct, maintain and operate a pipeline. Use of the land, with certain limitations, can remain the same as before construction.