» New Eminent Domain Laws in Texas Critical for Eagle Ford Shale Landowners to Know

New Eminent Domain Laws in Texas Critical for Eagle Ford Shale Landowners to Know

Landowners and communities stand to greatly benefit from the oil and natural gas boom that is happening in the Eagle Ford shale area in south Texas. With attractive figures to lease land, negotiate mineral rights, and have land appreciate quickly, landowners are lining up to attract oil and gas companies. But with that comes oil and gas companies that want to exert their influence through their powers of eminent domain.

The laws recently changed on September 1 of this year so that oil and gas companies cannot be as cut-throat with landowners as they have been in the past couple of years. Public and private companies now have new requirements and deadlines under Texas law when they want a landowner’s easement for the coveted natural resources. Overall, companies must register with the Texas Comptroller by December 31, 2012 to keep their eminent domain powers. Otherwise, a company will lose their right to condemn a piece of land on September 1, 2013.

The new law also allows landowners to build a street or road above a pipeline easement on their land. Landowners must still adhere to size, construction material, and road direction regulations according to the state laws. The road cannot interfere with a pipeline operation or the ability to maintain it; but this also is a benefit to the landowner in his or her negotiations with a natural resources company.

Landowners should be happy to learn that the new law requires pipeline and power companies to give them a good faith offer before any lawsuit is filed to obtain an easement on their land. Companies must offer an amount that is at least equal to a current appraisal of the land desired. Landowners will have more time to review the offer and are allowed legal representation to help negotiate for the fairest offer. When landowners have an oil and gas offer or dispute, they need to promptly contact an experienced Texas oil and gas lawyer. To learn more, contact Austin oil and gas attorney Gregory D. Jordan at (512) 419-0684.

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