Local Government Franchise and Easement Agreements
When pipelines need to cross government lands, local governments (as well as state and federal) can negotiate terms of an easement or franchise agreement relating to pipeline locations, availability of information, required payment by operators for line relocations in case of street or highway construction or rerouting projects, maintenance of the right-of-way, pipeline abandonment, and many other issues. Local governments can require permit applications and bonding at the time of construction to ensure the work is done according to requirements. Performance bonds are typically included, and intended to ensure the operator’s obligations under the agreement. Many local governments also charge an annual fee for use of the land as part of the franchise or easement agreement.
Insurance requirements are typical within a franchise, and questions often arise about what types of insurance are appropriate to adequately protect a local government against liability if a spill or accident were to occur within the right-of-way.
Below are links to other websites, documents, and reports that provide information and examples of local government approaches to franchise and easement agreements:
- Municipal Research and Services Center’s Pipeline Safety page maintains links to model franchise agreements and examples from WA state local governments. There are sample agreements, more than half a dozen ordinances, and background reports linked through their pages.
- Dane County (Wisconsin) report on insurance and risk management (this is specifically for a pumping station, but has applicability for franchise agreements more broadly).
- Contra Costa County (California) ordinance governing pipeline franchise agreements. A broad ordinance that addresses content needed for any franchise agreement is a good way to go if a local government has or is likely to have more than one or two pipelines passing through.