Recent Eminent Domain News – May 29 Update
Here’s a quick roundup of eminent domain related stories news around Texas.
Eminent domain reform died in the Texas Legislature this session
Source: The Texas Tribune
Texas state lawmakers looking to reform the eminent domain process were unable to find common ground this session, despite hundreds of hours of negotiation.
State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s Senate Bill 421 sought to better protect property owners when private companies condemn their land — a nod to landowners in Texas who’ve grown accustomed to encroaching oil and gas pipelines. The bill would’ve required public meetings between property owners and industry groups and instituted measures to prevent low-ball offers to property owners, among other reforms.
Hearings Begin in Lawsuit to Stop Permian Highway Pipeline
Source: Spectrum News
A lawsuit to stop construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline began with hearings Tuesday.
Hays County, the city of Kyle and property owners affected by the pipeline signed onto the lawsuit against energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan and the Texas Railroad Commission.
Texans could get a year in prison for protesting pipelines on their own land
Source: Grist Magazine
The fight against a Texas pipeline just got a little more challenging. On Monday, the Texas Senate passed legislation that makes interfering with pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure a crime punishable by up to a year in prison and $10,000 in fines. And just the “intent to impair or interrupt” operations could still cost you a $4,000 fine and a year behind bars.
The new legislation raises the risk for landowners hoping to block construction of Kinder Morgan’s $2 billion, 430-mile natural gas pipeline from West Texas’ Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast. The proposed project would cut through the Hill Country, an ecologically sensitive 25-county region in Central Texas that is home to the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.
Tomball council authorizes use of eminent domain for public utility easement on Hufsmith Road
Council members approved four resolutions May 20 authorizing the use of eminent domain for public utility purposes, which allows the city of Tomball to move forward with an $800,000 project to extend water lines down East Hufsmith Road, city officials said. No individuals spoke on the items during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“As part of the process, there is a 20-foot utility easement that’s required to put the utilities into the ground,” City Manager Rob Hauck said during the May 20 meeting. “We’ve been working with landowners and continue to work with landowners, but as this process moves on there is a timeline and schedule as we move forward with the process.”
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