There is a new arrow in the quiver of Texas September 1, 2011. Oil and gas companies can still acquire easements across private property to build pipelines. If the pipeline is a private pipeline, the pipeline company must obtain the voluntary agreement of the property owner. If the pipeline is going to be a common carrier, and the pipeline company and property owner cannot agree on easement terms, the company can commence condemnation, or “
As lawyers in Texas are well aware, there is a lot of construction of high voltage transmission lines (“HVTLs”) going on in Texas as well as in other parts of the United States. Research by electricity providers shows that they may lack capacity for the future demand, and so the race is on. Most landowners, when approached by the transmission line company, really wish they would just go away. They don’t want one of those lines across their property. However, they won’t go away. In addition, if you cannot come to an agreement with the company, they have the right of eminent domain, which is the right to condemn the portion of your property that they need for the easement or right of way. It is truly in the land owner’s best interest to negotiate the best agreement possible under the circumstances. Here are some of the questions that should be addressed in the agreement:
1. Is the easement limited to a specific area, or is it a blanket easement over your entire property?
2. Is the company obligated to reseed with whatever grass was there originally and in general to restore the easement area to its original condition?