We’ve had calls from landowners in Wharton, Fort Bend and Austin Counties about the Matterhorn Express Pipeline Project. In this video, Landowner Condemnation Rights Attorney Philip Hundl talks about some of the things you should be thinking about if you’re affected by this pipeline or any other pipeline project. Call or text 800-266-4870 for an appointment or click the button below for a no-obligation case evaluation.
Summary of the Matterhorn Express Pipeline Project Video
Hi, I’m Philip Hundl. I’m an attorney who focuses on representing landowners facing condemnation proceedings or eminent domain proceedings, whether a pipeline, a power line or a highway road expansion.
So, I like to put out these videos from time to time. When I can, I like to go out in the field and do these videos and give everyone examples of the different features in an eminent domain project that concern me and should concern other landowners. Often I can’t do that because of the noise and the wind and things like that.
So, what I’ve done in the alternative is put some pictures up for you. The photo behind me was taken here in Wharton County. Some of you who are from the County will probably recognize this. It illustrates very clearly something that I often bring up to landowners. I also bring this up to right-of-way agents or condemnor attorneys. These are some of the above-ground appurtenances that can be placed on your property during pipeline construction.
As you can see behind me, there are some valve sites related to three pipelines that run across this tract of land. One’s right behind me. I’m going to move in the photo. So there are three out right there. And this also, as you can see, there’s an access road right behind me that is also affecting the landowner’s property.
“Above-ground appurtenances” is the key phrase or buzzword used in these pipeline easement agreements. When you’re reading a proposed easement agreement, you should be looking for it.
The Matterhorn Express Pipeline Affects Wharton County, Austin County, Fort Bend County and Perhaps Others
I’ve recently become aware of a new project possibly affecting your property. It’s called the Matterhorn Express Pipeline. I’ve been receiving calls from Wharton County, Austin County, and Fort Bend County. I haven’t gotten any calls yet from folks in other counties, but I expect those will probably be coming soon.
This is what I know about this Matterhorn Express Pipeline Project. As I mentioned, it’s a pipeline project, and the right-of-way acquisition agents are with Norfleet.
There are lots of different right-of-way acquisition companies out there. Some are larger, and some are smaller. Norfleet is one of the larger right-of-way acquisition companies.
I talked about some of my past experiences with right-of-way agents in a prior video. And just like attorneys, there are different degrees of professionalism with right-of-way agents.
So when you’re dealing with right-of-way agents, remember that right-of-way agent doesn’t represent you. He’s an agent of the condemnor or the pipeline company. The pipeline company hires a right-of-way acquisition company to contact landowners like you and attempt to acquire those easements.
The condemnor typically sets out the parameters and the guidelines under which the right-of-way agents are to operate. Those guidelines generally include the compensation they can offer and the various terms they’re allowed to negotiate within the easement agreement. The initial proposed easement agreement often allows the pipeline company to have all kinds of above-ground appurtenances.
Look for Mentions of Above-Ground Appurtenances in a Proposed Easement Agreement
So one of my first questions to the pipeline company is, “are you planning to do anything above-ground on this landowner’s tract?” If the answer is no, there’s no need to have broad language in the easement agreement allowing the construction of above-ground appurtenances. When you’re reviewing a proposed easement agreement, that’s something to pay attention to.
I always try to refer to the steps of the condemnation process. The landowner should understand the steps. For the Matterhorn Express Pipeline Project, we are at step one. So, be aware that it’s early on in the process.
Get Legal Help to Protect Your Rights as a Landowner
As with all these projects, I recommend that, as a landowner, it’s essential to know your rights. You should understand what the condemnor is required to do, what information they’re required to provide you, and what information you’re required to give the pipeline company. You aren’t required to provide any information to the pipeline company early in the process.
So, those are fundamental rights and obligations that you need to understand if you’re a landowner. You should find an attorney in your area who can help you with condemnation, understands the process, and has experience helping other landowners.
I we can help you, please call or text our office at 800-266-4870. We have offices in Wharton County, Fort Bend County and Matagorda County. Appointments can be in-person, online or by phone. We also offer a no-obligation case evaluation. Just click the button below and complete the form.