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Forensic Appraisal Group, Ltd.
Oil Pipelines 

Oil pipelines come with their own drawbacks that are unique to themselves.  Unlike natural gas pipelines, oil pipelines do not explode; they instead leak and spill the oil into the environment.  This contamination can have devastating environmental effects on conservation land and agricultural land.

Agricultural land can be affected by oil pipelines in three ways.  First of all, oil needs to be heated in order to transport it.  This heat can dry out soil in the summer, and in the winter it can melt the snow and frost and create muddy depressions. The danger of hitting the pipeline with a plow is also a very real danger.  Due to compaction of the soil by the creation of the pipeline, the farmer may need to plow deeper than usual and closer to the pipeline.  If the farmer hits the pipe, he is held liable for any damage and the resulting spill.  If the pipeline company damages the pipe, then they are held liable, but the resulting spill could negate the entire property.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the pipeline easement is the property of the utility, and they can do anything they want on it.  This includes removing any obstructions such as plants or buildings and also any maintenance that needs to be done.

* Note to consider: There is a chance that the pipelines are not forever even though the easement is.  If the pipeline is abandoned, the land reverts to the homeowner, and the utility may or may not remove the pipe.

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