By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
LAPORTE, Pa. (AP) - Federal regulators who approved a 39-mile natural gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania say they relied on the pipeline company's assurances that it would minimize the use of eminent domain.
Yet a few days after winning approval for its MARC 1 pipeline in the heart of the giant Marcellus Shale gas field, the company began condemnation proceedings against nearly half the landowners along the pipeline's route.
That has undercut part of the approval rationale of federal regulators and angered landowners.
Some landowners are now fighting Central New York Oil and Gas Co. in court, saying it steamrolled them by refusing to negotiate in good faith on price and location.
The company insists it's trying to reach a "fair settlement" with all property owners and wants to be a good neighbor.