So, ET Rover's here today "forcing" the survey of our property. We are glad we did not consent to this and forced the company to invoke its legal right to survey. Ohio's Jefferson County judge has not and will not side in favor of the landowner when it comes to surveying, so we stopped short of forcing them to take us to court, but still did not consent to the survey. The next step is for them to tell us they want/need to put their 36" pipeline where we don't want it---in our backyard forest where we are constructing summer cabins for our children and future grandchildren. (And they've already shown us this on their map.) Our answer will be "no thank you," again. Then they'll threaten us with eminent domain. And that's fine.
If a pipeline company is forced to take a landowner to court to claim eminent domain, there are incredibly strict limitations on what they can force a landowner to do. For example, the court's eminent domain decision applies to one pipeline and one pipeline only; so the pipeline company must compensate the landowner for a one-time use of the easement; and the company must take the landowner to court and go through the entire process all over again if it desires to put in an additional pipeline. I thoroughly researched pipelines and pipelines easement laws the last time a company wanted to put a pipeline in our backyard (a company that couldn't claim eminent domain under Ohio law, by the way, because it was an intrastate pipeline, not interstate), and I learned quite a few things--especially from Texan attorneys. The standard easement contract presented to a landowner by a pipeline company is lacking at least 30, yes, 30 clauses that are needed to protect the landowner from abuse by the company. And that same pipeline-company version of the contract contains multiple, intentionally vague and broad sweeping statements that, if signed by the landowner, would give the company the right to do just about anything it darn well pleases on and to the land for the next hundred years or so----not the least of which things would be to lay additional pipelines without compensating the landowner; and even worse, gain so much power over the easement that the original pipeline company could negotiate an easement within the easement with a second company and receive compensation for it. This latter point absolutely blew my mind when I found out about it.
My advice is this, not that anyone asked for it, but here it is: DO NOT sign a contract with a pipeline company without hiring an attorney who has YEARS of experience negotiating pipeline easements, even if you have no problem with having a pipeline run through your property. And if you don't want a pipeline, don't fear eminent domain. If it really comes down to it, if a company really can force you to let them use your property because they're putting in an interstate pipeline (as ET Rover will end up being able to do if they gain approval from the FERC), eminent domain could wind up protecting you from being snookered into voluntarily signing away many rights over your land that you could've and should've retained.
Side note: In Michigan, township residents are banding together in their fight against the ET Rover pipeline. At least one township and/or county has already raised such a ruckus that ET Rover has decided to go around them. Another side note: In Michigan, on land that already had pipelines/easements wherein the landowners refused to consent to surveys because they're sick of pipelines, ET Rover approached and obtained permission to survey from the previous pipeline company.
We didn't sign with anybody, but we ended up letting Rover on our land since we found out that Jefferson County judges were siding with the oil and gas companies when it came to surveying.
Harrison County judges are siding with pipeline companies, too. Shameful.