Easements & Right of Way
An easement, or right of way, is a limited right to use land for a very specific purpose. Williams operates tens of thousands of miles of pipelines within easements stretching across the country.
It is important to understand that an easement is not the same as full fee ownership of the property. While the landowner still maintains ownership of the land, the easement gives Williams the right to construct, operate and maintain the pipeline (and, in limited cases, aboveground equipment related to the pipeline such as valves, and cathodic protection sites).
After construction of the pipeline, most uses of the surface of the land will be allowed. This includes farming activities such as crop production or raising livestock. Two notable exceptions include planting trees within the easement or placing a permanent structure within the easement, both of which are prohibited.
Should Williams need to acquire a new easement, the company will compensate the landowner for the new permanent easement, in addition to any temporary workspace adjacent to the permanent easement, or damages which occur during the pipeline construction process. All temporary workspace will be returned to the landowner, after construction and restoration, for his or her full use.
The size of a typical permanent easements will vary. For a “looping” project like Northeast Supply Enhancement, Williams will typically need an additional 25 feet of permanent easement for operation and maintenance of the new pipeline. The total width of the construction workspace will vary depending on such factors as slope, soil conditions and regulatory requirements. Generally, approximately 85 to 125 feet of workspace will be required to construct the pipeline.