Judge grants foreign company eminent domain powers for pipeline construction

By David Yates | Sep 24, 2012

A Beaumont judge on Monday granted a foreign company’s petition to condemn land for the construction of a crude oil pipeline. 

Last June, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline filed the petition for condemnation against Texas Rice Land Partners, James and David Holland and Mike and Walter Latta.

TransCanada filed the petition seeking to build a pipeline to carry crude from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

On Sept. 24 Judge Tom Rugg, Jefferson County Court at Law No. 1, ruled that the company has the right to sieze land in Jefferson County for the pipeline.

TransCanada has posted bonds to compensate landowners if a higher court finds that the company ultimately did not have the right to damage the sought after property, court records show.

During a Sept. 12 hearing, Terry Wood, the attorney for the rice farmers, attempted to link the TransCanda case to a ruling made by the Texas Supreme Court last August denying Denbury Green common carrier status in a pipeline project of its own.

However, the Denbury pipeline would have carried CO2, not crude oil.

TransCanada is represented by Thomas Zabel, attorney for the Houston law firm Zabel Freeman.

Case No. 118867

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