Texas Eastern files notice of appeal

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WAYNESBURG – The Texas Eastern Transmission Corp. filed a notice Tuesday indicating it will appeal an Aug. 9 Greene County Court order requiring it to protect its pipelines above an area where the Emerald Mine plans to mine north of Waynesburg.


The company, in a notice filed with Greene County Court, said it will appeal the order issued by Judge William Nalitz to the state Superior Court.


Following a two-day hearing last month, Nalitz ruled Emerald has the right to extract the coal in its “D” District without leaving coal in place to support Texas Eastern’s pipelines.


Texas Eastern has an obligation to complete and pay for the mitigation work so as not to interfere with Emerald’s right to mine, he said.


Nalitz denied motions filed by Texas Eastern regarding the pipeline company’s right to support and ownership of the support estate. He also denied Emerald’s motion for an injunction to force Texas Eastern to conduct mitigation work to protect the lines before Emerald begins mining in the district the first quarter of 2014.


During the hearing, Emerald claimed its deeds gave it the legal rights to mine coal in the “D” District without interference or liability in regard to the pipelines, but that Texas Eastern had refused to commit to completing the mitigation work to allow mining to begin there in the first quarter of 2014.


Delay in mining the “D” District jeopardizes the viability of the mine and could lead to the mine being idled, resulting in employee layoffs and schedule reductions and strained relations with employees, vendors and customers, Emerald claimed.


Texas Eastern maintained it intended to complete the work, but because of a delay resulting from Emerald’s failure to confirm the date on which it planned to begin mining the “D” District, it would be unable to complete mitigation until September 2014.


The pipeline company also disputed Emerald’s property rights, claiming it owns the “right to support” for the pipelines. Texas Eastern said it would complete the mitigation work with the understanding if it prevails on the issue regarding its right to support, Emerald will reimburse it for the costs of mitigation.


Texas Eastern further maintained the court lacked jurisdiction to provide the relief requested by Emerald and only the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could order the company to complete the mitigation measures.


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