TEXAS FARM BUREAU: Eminent domain hearing focuses on landowners

High stakes negotiations and low-ball offers occur too often during eminent domain proceedings in the Lone Star State. And the current law favors for-profit companies, giving landowners few options in a fight for their property.

But Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) is once again taking a stand for private property rights.

“Landowners feel they’re not getting a fair shake and that their rights are being ignored,” TFB President Russell Boening testified at a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on State Affairs.

To address the issue, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick charged the committee with studying property owner compensation and the variance between a condemning entity’s offer and the fair market value of the property.

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TEXAS TRIBUNE: Lawmakers Mull Tweaks to Eminent Domain Law to Favor Landowners

State lawmakers next session may renew an age-old clash between two intrinsically Texan values: property rights and energy interests.

The Senate Committee on State Affairs heard testimony Tuesday on whether to tighten eminent domain laws to benefit landowners battling pipeline companies, electric utilities, public agencies or other entities seeking to condemn land their land for public use.  

Ahead of the 2017 legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick charged lawmakers with studying whether landowners were being fairly compensated for lost property.

The discussion comes as property rights skirmishes persist across Texas, including Big Bend-area landowners’ long-shot effort to thwart the Trans-Pecos natural gas pipeline through the largely untouched region.   

Several lawmakers on Tuesday sounded more sympathetic toward landowners. 

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STAR-TELEGRAM: Pate Ranch owners sue XTO Energy over pipeline

The new owners of the Pate Ranch development southwest of Fort Worth along the Chisholm Trail Parkway are suing XTO Energy, alleging that the company built a natural gas pipeline without making the required compensation.

Pate Ranch Land L.P., which is owned by Provident Realty Advisors, says in a lawsuit filed in Tarrant County civil court last week that XTO, which got a state permit for the gathering system in 2013, neglected to condemn the land through eminent domain as required by law.

XTO Energy built a 6.6-inch pipeline on the property as well as structures that include a compressor station, the lawsuit says. The land is south of Altamesa Boulevard and Dirks Road, bordered on the west by Chisholm Trail Parkway.

“They paid zero,” said Craig Albert, the Dallas attorney who is representing the new owners, who completed their purchase of about 470 acres two weeks ago. “They neglected to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. … It impacts our usage so there needs to some kind of compensation paid.”

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