Detailed civil survey work for the Hillabee Expansion project is scheduled to begin in November 2013. Surveyors collect important data and assess environmental, geological, and archaeological conditions. This process also includes considerable interaction with property owners along the proposed route so that their concerns can be identified 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 corridor and in some cases they may need to dig small holes or leave small stakes behind.
Acquiring easements or rights of way
Williams works to design facilities that will have the least possible impact on communities and the environment. For the Hillabee project, Williams is working to maximize the existing right of way to the greatest degree possible to minimize how much additional temporary workspace adjacent to the permanent easement is needed during construction. All temporary workspace will be returned to the landowner after construction and restoration for his or her full use.
If you are affected by pipeline construction, a Williams representative will meet with you to make certain the job is performed with the least possible impact to you or the environment. Our land representatives will be available before, during and after the project to discuss any special concerns you may have.
Steps for acquiring rights of way (easements):
1. Upfront 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.