Pipeline parent suing for land access

Tray Ling

A St. Louis-based energy company has filed a lawsuit seeking use of temporary access roads on land controlled by the Betty Ann Jefferson Trust, Philip and Zena Brown and Marc Steckel.  Spire STL Pipeline has asked U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to grant the company possession […]

A St. Louis-based energy company has filed a lawsuit seeking use of temporary access roads on land controlled by the Betty Ann Jefferson Trust, Philip and Zena Brown and Marc Steckel. 

Spire STL Pipeline has asked U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to grant the company possession of the easement and temporary access road, which they claim is necessary to complete work ordered by the same court. 

The pipeline, known as the Spire STL Pipeline, covers 65 miles across Scott, Greene and Jersey counties in Illinois and St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri. 

In a statement from Spire, the company said the access is necessary for the company to perform certain remediation efforts. 

“With limited time to complete the pipeline under federal requirements, Spire tried its best to come to agreements with the remaining landowners,” spokeswoman Raegan Johnson said. “However, Spire could not justify paying customers inflated market prices and it was necessary to utilize the laws of eminent domain in some cases. That said, Spire is responsible for compensating landowners for the use of their land and hopes to resolve all outstanding agreement issues.” 

Several landowners and municipalities filed suits against the company or made agreements with the company to restore land to its former condition after the pipeline’s construction. 

In March, the court ordered Spire to perform additional remediation efforts on certain properties following reports from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

To complete those, Spire said in its lawsuit, it needs access to the roads; an agreement was modified in January after the company believed it no longer needed access. 

According to the suit, which represents only one side of the case, “The Browns and Steckel refuse to allow Spire STL Pipeline to access the temporary easement areas on their properties and refuse to permit Spire STL Pipeline to use temporary access road TAR-010.” 

Spire said it will continue to work to fulfill its agreements with landowners affected by the pipeline. 

“From construction through operation, Spire remains committed to partnering with each landowner along the pipeline route to ensure there is little to no impact on the landowner’s continued use of the land,” Johnson said. “For the nearly 70% of landowners who reached agreements with Spire and have replanted, their crops have come back faster than expected. We will continue to perform restoration activities and monitor environmental conditions until the pipeline right-of-way sees regrowth matching its surrounding area.” 

The Browns and Steckel could not be reached Monday for comment. 

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