Here’s a quick roundup of recent eminent domain related stories in news.
Gas pipeline plans rankle Hill Country landowners
Source: Austin American-Statesman
A Texas company says its planned $2 billion pipeline will perform a duty integral to the state economy, transporting natural gas from West Texas to near Houston.
But on Lucy Johnson’s rolling Hill Country family ranch near Kyle, cut through by the Blanco River and sitting atop a vast, natural underground reservoir that flows to Barton Springs, the prospect of a pipeline running beneath her property is an environmental nightmare.
As some Central Texas property owners scramble to thwart the pipeline from running across their land — a meeting Tuesday night hosted by a Hays County commissioner aims to inform landowners about the path of the line — they’re learning a Lone Star State truth: As much as Texas law cherishes property rights, it favors oil and gas interests even more.
Houston-based Kinder Morgan, a publicly traded $38 billion company that operates more than 25,000 miles of pipeline in Texas, says its Permian Highway Pipeline Project will safely move natural gas from the Permian Basin to a growing market along the Gulf Coast, in the process creating 2,500 construction jobs and, eventually, 18 full-time ones.
Texas: Public meetings on eminent domain projects good start to reform
Source: Tri-State Livestock News
There is an information vacuum when it comes to private companies using eminent domain in Texas.
Even though eminent domain is a governmental power that is supposed to be used only for the public good, private entities who use eminent domain have very few obligations to operate in the kind of transparent manner that citizens have come to expect from public projects.
Transmission line companies must at least present a proposed route to the Public Utility Commission, which meets in Austin and allows public input. Even then, the meeting only pertains to routing, and if property owners want to participate, they must abandon their day jobs to travel to Austin from every corner of Texas.
New bill could impact the proposed Texas high speed railway
A new bill in the Texas Legislature could impact the path of the proposed Texas high speed railway.
Local State Senator Charles Schwertner proposed two bills dealing with eminent domain.
One would allow Texans to repurchase property seized for state projects, like the high speed rail, if there’s no progress on the construction.