Influence in the right-of-way: Assessing landowners’ risk decision-making in negotiating oil and gas pipeline easements

Kirk Jalbert, Katherine L. Dickinson, Jennifer Baka, Natalie Florence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Pipeline rights-of-way (ROW) are the result of complicated easement negotiations between pipeline operators and landowners, where landowners must frequently weigh the financial benefits of lucrative contracts against the potential risk of living alongside oil and gas infrastructure projects. This study analyzes a survey of landowners both directly and proximally involved in a pipeline construction project to better understand their risk decision-making processes. We examine how landowners in a ROW understand risks across personal, property, and environment related risk domains, then compare these results to neighboring landowners. We additionally assess how landowners’ relationships to pipelines have changed due to direct positive and negative experiences with these projects. Findings suggest that landowners’ assembled knowledge of pipelines and resulting risk calculations are, in part, determined by personal exposure to pipeline development and negotiations with pipeline operators. We also find evidence of risk discounting in instances where landowners benefit from the pipeline project, or seek to justify their historical risk calculations. Results of the study reveal why landowners assume risks of proximity to pipelines. These findings can inform the practices of community interest groups engaging with landowners, as well as policymakers pursuing rulemaking to protect landowner interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101276
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Economic Geology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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