SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS: Big Bend rancher sues pipeline company

The owner of an 11,000-acre ranch south of Marfa has filed suit in federal court, claiming the use of eminent domain by a private pipeline company to take part of his land is unconstitutional.

Big Bend Pipe Line

Filed in Pecos, the lawsuit by lawyer John Boerschig of Katy against Trans-Pecos Pipeline LLC comes as construction of the 148-mile natural gas line through the unspoiled Big Bend is already underway.

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SAN ANTONIO CURRENT: Landowners Who Resist the Vista Ridge Pipeline Could Face Eminent Domain Battle

Curtis Yurk lives on a 156-acre property just north of Lexington, Texas, in Lee County — smack dab in the path of the planned Vista Ridge pipeline.

He says he doesn't hear a lot of news because of his rural location. 

However, when informed that San Antonio Water System CEO Robert Puente told City leaders Wednesday that eminent domain would be used to take property from landowners who didn't want to sell, he'd already heard thatnews.

"[They] gave a proposal of what they were going to pay and the thing went bankrupt and I haven't heard from them since," Yurk said over the phone. "The first thing they put in the first letter they sent was eminent domain."

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TSCRA CATTLEMEN'S COLUMN: The Condemnation Process - Not A Willing Buyer, Willing Seller Transaction

There are many stories of citizens’ land being condemned by public or private entities using the power of eminent domain, and the stories are generally not good. When we go to Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) ranch gatherings and meetings, we hear from members who have had a pipeline, power line or another utility cross their property. Many have been unfairly treated and not justly compensated. As TSCRA hosts more ranch gatherings this year, we expect to hear more of these stories.

While successful efforts in the past have helped to improve the laws that govern the use of eminent domain in Texas, many landowners are still experiencing abuses by the entities that exercise this extreme power. In this interim between legislative sessions, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee is charged with gathering and reviewing data on the compensation provided to private property owners in cases of eminent domain condemnation. TSCRA is working with other landowner organizations to gather this information.

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