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Jimmy May, Associated Press
In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, Lisa Richlin stands along Route 220 at intersection with Thorndale Road next to her home near Laporte, Pa. Richlin is in court with Central New York Oil and Gas Company LLC on trying to get them to move a proposed entrance road for building the MARC 1 pipeline from a couple hundred yards north of her home at Thorndale Road to a site a couple hundred yards south of her home.

LAPORTE, Pa. — Federal regulators who approved a 39-mile natural gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania say they relied on the pipeline company's assurances that it would minimize the use of eminent domain.

Yet a few days after winning approval for its MARC 1 pipeline in the heart of the giant Marcellus Shale gas field, the company began condemnation proceedings against nearly half the landowners along the pipeline's route.

That has undercut part of the approval rationale of federal regulators and angered landowners.

Some landowners are now fighting Central New York Oil and Gas Co. in court, saying it steamrolled them by refusing to negotiate in good faith on price and location.

The company insists it's trying to reach a "fair settlement" with all property owners and wants to be a good neighbor.