"Texas Sees Rising Tide of Property-Rights Cases"

"The case of Julia Trigg Crawford versus the Keystone XL oil pipeline will soon return to the headlines."

"Crawford, a northeast Texas farmer, is fighting to keep TransCananda, the pipeline’s owner, from invoking the right of eminent domain to cross her property. A Lamar County judge ruled against her last month, but Crawford says she plans to file an appeal soon — probably to the state’s 6th Court of Appeals in Texarkana. ...

Eminent domain rules, the issue at stake in the Crawford case, allow pipelines or other utilities to cross the property of unwilling landowners (who get compensated). Texas has thousands of pipelines, but the Keystone XL has drawn national attention because it would transport an especially dirty form of oil, a prospect that infuriates environmentalists.

But Crawford’s case is only the most visible in what some legal experts describe as a rising tide of property-rights cases across Texas. Just last week, the Texas Supreme Court handed down four decisions on land-use issues, including a ruling that allows the city of Austin to take over a downtown block belonging to lawyer Harry Whittington for use as a parking garage and chilling station."

Kate Galbraith reports for the Texas Tribune September 6, 2012.

Source: Texas Tribune, 09/06/2012