Lawmakers pass bill on land expropriation process


Austin, Texas – The congressman passed the bill in this legislative session, which changes the land expropriation process to make it more transparent to landowners.

Land expropriation is the power of government agencies to acquire private property for public use, while private energy and infrastructure companies land for certain projects considered to be in the public interest, such as pipelines and pipelines. railroads. You can also call expropriation.

Utilities and pipeline companies must compensate landowners through land expropriation, but otherwise landowners have little protection in the process.

The construction of the 3880 house, passed by lawmakers with near unanimous support in the legislative session, aims to make the land expropriation process more fair and transparent for landowners while supporting growing infrastructure. is.

Member of the State Assembly Joe Deathhotel (D-Port Arthur) is chairman of the Houseland and Resource Management Committee. He drafted the bill and described it as a subtle compromise between many stakeholders.

“Over the past six years, the parties have been unable to agree on how the land acquisition process works for landowners. For the landowners, it was sort of a bias. They do this every day, as explained to people in the industry. For property owners, this can happen once in a lifetime. ”

The bill changes the way land expropriation negotiations are conducted, including providing landowners with proactive contractual terms and requiring companies to better understand information about their rights in the expropriation process. .

Businesses must also maximize land restoration and pay for damage to surrounding land.

“This is an improvement that gives landowners more involvement in the process,” Deshotel said.

“This is a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done to streamline the blame process… Make sure the landowner sits at the table and receives fair compensation and appropriate. .. and actually build a real routing process on the pipeline. Said Jessica Karlsruher, Executive Director of the TREAD Coalition.

The law is expected to come into force in early 2022, but some say it is not far enough along to protect property owners.

Land expropriation issues have been controversial in Texas in recent years, especially for landowners affected by the Permian Highway pipeline from energy company Kinder Morgan.

The approximately 430-mile pipeline carries natural gas statewide and crosses the Texas Hill Country. Texas Hill Country has faced serious controversy and backlash from landowners concerned about its environmental impact and their private property.

Prisila and Stamper Car are among those affected. They live on 75 acres in Fredericksburg and produce and sell hay, honey and spices, as well as peasants who plant crops on the land. They planned to withdraw to the field.

“It’s just a pristine place for us to live,” said Priscilla Parker. “We live on a farm here and love to live here. This is very quiet.

Three years ago, Kinder Morgan was told that she was planning to resort to expropriation of land to participate in the assets of the Permian Highway Pipeline.

“First there was a phone call, they wanted to come and investigate, and we told them no, and… they sent us a certified letter and said they would come. We. There was not much we could do, ”said Priscilla Parker. “It was like hell…” We will be bringing several trucks to your place from 7 am. You will give us a barrier to pass. You are going to do it and you are going to do it. Like we didn’t own a stupid property. “

“You feel like your life has been taken from you, and they’re not going to undo it,” said Stan Parker.

A spokesperson for Kinder Morgan said the company has made more than 150 small route changes to its pipeline, but that’s not always possible.

Allenfore, vice president of public relations at Kinder Morgan, said: The ranch is on the edge. And if you move somewhere, you will be in 25 other individual owners who have a smaller property. After all, that’s not the reason to move, because what you want has the least impact. “

The pipeline has been in use since early 2021, but Parkers is still pending with Kinder Morgan.

Stan Parker said in a conversation with him, “Why don’t you tell people ahead of time that if your pipeline wants land, there’s nothing you can do. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. “. lawyer.” So all of these hands clench your teeth and cringe and plan to “do this, do it” and it doesn’t make any difference in the pipeline. They take what they want. “

Recently, Parkers received a notice that Atmos Energy is investigating its land for another potential project.

“It never ends. Priscilla Parker said, ‘Once a gas pipe enters your property it never stops,’ people told us, if you use land expropriation., We Let’s drink. We’re just drinking. “

In response to Spectrum News, Atmos Energy did not comment on any specific projects affecting Parkers, but said in a statement: “Atmos Energy is committed to safety, innovation, environmental sustainability and continued investment in our community. That we can safely and reliably serve our customers is statewide. It depends on updating the system to meet the increasing demand. We won’t comment on any particular conversation, but we always prefer to reach a deal through negotiations with the landowners. “

It’s a little heartwarming for Parkers, who said they weren’t interested in other energy companies seizing part of their property.

“We don’t want money. We want you to get out of here, ”said Stan Parker.

Parkers said he would like to see legislation that strengthens the protection of landowners in the land expropriation process, including declarations in the land expropriation process, especially as he faces the possibility of another case of land expropriation.

“I don’t know how much I can take this because it’s just boring,” said Priscilla Parker.


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