Transparency & Fairness in Eminent Domain Laws

Critical infrastructure like roads, electricity transmission lines, water systems and pipelines are essential to all communities. Whenever private property is used for a project to benefit the general population, the U.S. Constitution requires that landowners be fairly compensated. In the vast majority of instances, landowners along a proposed route of a project agree to sell their easement to the entity building the project for fair market value. Eminent domain may be used, often as a last resort, in the rare event that the entity and landowner do not reach an agreement. Through an eminent domain proceeding, a court determines the land’s value so the landowner is fully compensated and the project to benefit the general population can be built. Legislation is expected during the 85th Legislature that will encourage more litigation, increase the cost to taxpayers and consumers for critical infrastructure and services. The proposal will divert resources to eminent domain lawyers that should be used to compensate landowners and invest in Texas communities. Manufacturers are advocating for fairness and transparency in the eminent domain process without creating new incentives for lawsuits.