Landowners unable to terminate aging pipeline contracts


Landowners in Gonzales County who live on top of a 40-year-old pipeline are now battling Texas pipeline companies over easements that they thought were rightfully theirs. The pipeline runs for about 30-something miles, and is part of the state’s extensive network of oil and gas pipelines that were built before 1970, some of which haven’t been used for years (according to data from Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration). Landowners like Sarah “Sally” Birkner and her neighbors believed the pipes were abandoned because the pipeline company didn’t trim any of the overgrown brush and trees, posted signages above the line, or respond to requests to build or dig over the top of the pipeline. But legal experts say the companies are using the law to redefine use to hold on to the pipelines and the thin strips of land that run over them. By keeping an electrical current on the pipeline to prevent corrosion, the company’s ownership of the line and the land over it remained intact. Read the full story here…

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