• December 22, 2014

Challenge delays oil pipeline in Coryell County

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Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2013 4:30 am

GATESVILLE — Construction of the 37-mile Coryell County stretch of the BridgeTex Pipeline was delayed until next year because one of the landowners in the path of the pipeline — 52nd District Attorney Dustin Boyd — is challenging the location of the easement.

The proposed pipeline “basically goes through my backyard,” Boyd said.

Boyd and his wife, Jennifer, are named as defendants in a petition for condemnation filed by BridgeTex Pipeline Company on Nov. 4.

The petition claims the Boyds failed to agree to the company’s “bona fide offer” to acquire the easement, “leaving no recourse but to seek condemnation” of the property.

A three-member commission of landowners — David Freeman, Bob Meharg and Dick Van Dyke — was named to hear the dispute Dec. 18.

“We are going to make our case on the 18th,” Boyd said, “if (the hearing) doesn’t get moved to January, which it very well might.”

Under Texas law, a common carrier such as BridgeTex “has the right and power of eminent domain and is empowered ... to condemn the land, rights-of-way, easements and property” necessary to build and operate the pipeline, the petition stated.

In the case of a dispute over the property valuation, the carrier can petition for condemnation and the landowner has the right to a hearing before a court-appointed commission of other landowners.

In a separate case involving landowners Brian Austin, Edwin Struznik Jr. and Linda Marie Struznik, another three-member commission — Brian Hays, Gary Chumley and Frank Seffrood — on Nov. 8 awarded the landowners nearly $6,000 for pipeline easements.

Construction of the pipeline, a joint venture of Magellan Midstream Partners and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, was set to start this fall with oil flowing through the pipe by next year at 278,000 barrels per day.

County Judge John Firth said BridgeTex officials told him construction of the pipeline in Hamilton, Bell and Milam counties would begin this fall as planned and only the Coryell County section would be delayed due to the litigation.

The 400-mile-long, 20-inch crude oil pipeline will cross 20 Texas counties from Colorado City to Houston.

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