No Eminent Domain for Private Gain
This just in from Debra Medina and We Texans: “We had boots on the ground at the Texas Capitol yesterday as a number of folks called on members of the calendars committee to request that they tag HB 2748 by Lewis and move HB 3547 by Oliveira to the floor. It is imperative that more folks carry that message to members of the calendars committee – call, email, fax or drop by offices.
HB 2748 devastates individual rights and sets the bar for even being able to get your eminent domain case to a court for a hearing on the facts very very high. Considering the high cost of litigation, the ability to get to court is tough enough already for most landowners. Lewis’ bill makes the Railroad Commission’s decision as to whether a pipeline is a common carrier a conclusive determination. Many rightly fear that the “process” by the Railroad Commission will be no process at all but merely a rubber stamp “approved” on any pipeline’s application.
Chairman Oliveira’s bill establishes a more formal objective process to be administered by the State Office of Administrative Hearings and requiring at least one public hearing in effected counties in an effort to insure that all relevant facts are heard and considered before a designation of common carrier (and the ability to condemn property using eminent domain) is granted.
With 34 days remaining in the session, public pressure must remain high if private property rights are going to be protected from the ongoing abuse by self designated common carrier pipelines in Texas.”