A Virginia State Police trooper asked a survey crew working Monday for Mountain Valley Pipeline to leave properties whose owners had not granted permission for the crews to study their land in Roanoke County for a possible pipeline route.

The surveyors agreed to comply but, according to witnesses, lingered for a time after the trooper left.

On Thursday, Mountain Valley Pipeline responded by filing a motion in Roanoke County Circuit Court for an injunction against three members of one family — a family who has denied access for surveying on their property off Poor Mountain Road — that could bar the family from attempting to halt surveying.

The state’s controversial survey law allows a natural gas company to survey private property without an owner’s consent as long as the company follows the law’s requirements for notifying landowners, via certified mail, about their plans and the anticipated dates of entry of survey crews.

Conflicts between survey crews and landowners have occasionally turned heated in recent years, leading some observers to worry that a confrontation could turn tragic.

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