|Thompson & Knight Houston Attorney Christopher Schaeper quoted in Houston Business Journal article |
Eminent domain: Where private property and energy interests collide
|August 31, 2012 11:58 pm|
The Houston Business Journal:
As we power through the 2012 election cycle and gear up for the next Texas legislative session, the power of oil companies to claim eminent domain authority over private property rights could become a hot-button issue.
A judge in Lamar County recently confirmed TransCanada Corp.'s right of eminent domain when he rejected a motion by East Texas farmer Julia Trigg Crawford to block the company's construction of the Keystone XL pipeline through parts of her property.
Christopher Schaeper, a partner in the Houston office of Thompson & Knight LLP law firm, said there's little doubt the Legislature will take up eminent domain. And in fact, this summer, the Texas House Committee on Land and Resource Management had the first of several hearings expected on the issue.
"There's way too much money involved, and the infrastructure is probably one of the biggest challenges we have in the oil and gas industry," he said.
Schaeper said it's unlikely the Legislature's composition will change with the November elections, but it probably will make an effort to strike a balance between what makes a project good for one company or good for the general public.
"On the one hand, Texas is very individualistic and respects property rights, but by the same token, it's also very pro-business and very pro-energy business. This is a situation where those two interests have collided," he said.
© 2012 American City Business Journals
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