For the past many years, the odds were good that if landowners went up against oil companies in court, the highest court in the state would side with oil interests every time.
However, the Texas Supreme Court justices seem to be leaning the other way.
Today, the Supremes released an update on the Texas Rice Land Partners v. Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas case and told the pipeline companies that were hoping for another hearing that it wasn't going to happen.
The ruling was originally issued last fall and made it more difficult for pipeline companies to wield the right of eminent domain. Instead of just checking off a box that declared they were building a common carrier pipeline for the public good - which is covered by eminent domain and gives the companies tremendous bargaining power - they have to work harder to prove it.
It simply isn't the usual thing for the Texas Supreme Court to side against energy interests so it's something I'll be keeping an eye on.
An article on the ruling from StateImpact said that it isn't expected to impact the Keystone XL legal battle. A district court judge dissolved the restraining order Julia Trigg Crawford, a North Texas farmer, filed against TransCanada, the builders of the pipeline that will run from the Canadian Tar Sands to the Texas coast, cutting through Crawford's property along the way.
They say the Denbury ruling being upheld won't make a difference if that case should bounce up to the High Court, but, those justices ruling in a way they don't usually rule is still awfully interesting.
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