n Louisiana, pipeline companies can approach the acquisition of rights of way methodically. Louisiana’s
statutes set forth a fairly straightforward procedure for the acquisition of rights of way, showing a
preference for negotiation rather than litigation, and providing for relatively quick decision-making by
the courts if expropriation litigation does become necessary.
The power of a pipeline company to expropriate private property derives from the eminent domain powers
of the sovereign—the State of Louisiana. Because pipeline companies are deemed by law to serve a public
purpose, they may exercise the sovereign’s right to take private property in order to accomplish a public
purpose, provided that the owner of the property taken is compensated fairly. According to article I, section 4
of the 1974 Louisiana Constitution, it is required that the owner of expropriated property be compensated “to
the full extent of his loss.” According to the Louisiana Supreme Court, this means that the owner “should be
put in as good a position pecuniarily as he would have been had his property not been taken.” The procedure
a pipeline company must follow when exercising its legal authority to expropriate, as well as how disputes
regarding the exercise of that authority and the payment of compensation are resolved, are addressed in detail
in Louisiana statutes.
A particular approach to acquisition
BY GERALD F. SLATTERY, JR.
RIGHTS OF WAY
An expanded version of this article was published in Volume VI, Issue No. 1 (Fall 2017) of the Journal of Energy Law and
Resources, a student-run journal of LSU Law School. The full article is available in the Monocle Digital Library on IRWA
University and is a staple in our C230: Oil/Gas Land Basics & Related Surface Rights Issues.