Four landowners opposed to the Kentucky American Water pipeline under construction in Franklin County are questioning the company's right to acquire an easement through condemnation.
They're claiming that KAW "a private for-profit water company, does not, under Kentucky law, have the power of eminent domain to condemn easements on private property in Franklin County."
They live along the pipeline route and filed a civil action Friday in Franklin Circuit Court.
The "petition for declaration of rights" " filed by attorney Tom FitzGerald " says the plaintiffs are uncertain as to their right to freely decline KAW's request for an easement and are unsure if KAW has the right to condemn an easement on their property should they decline KAW's request.
FitzGerald said in his search of Kentucky laws, he did not find one that gives KAW the right of eminent domain for the construction project underway.
Kentucky American has said it has the right to condemn property but seldom uses it.
Company spokesman Brian Wright said in more than 2,000 cases over the last 19 years, KAW has had to ask a court to condemn property only five times.
Kentucky American could simply supply the statutory basis for its right to use eminent domain and be done with it. If a statute allow the taking of private property for water transport purposes, Kentucky American Water will have the right to condemn.