Eminent domain is a huge issue in Texas. The feelings about it depend on which side of the argument you are on. One side feels it is trying to protect its land rights, while the other side feels it has no other choice and must evoke this right to build a business. Regardless of which side you may be on, the idea of eminent domain, which KUT explains is the right of a company or public entity to take ownership over a portion of private land for use that benefits the public, is something that gets a lot of attention in the state.
The issue with eminent domain is that it gives the landowner few rights. You cannot object if a company has the right to use it. You do not have to give your permission. However, the company does have to pay you a fair price for your land. That often does not seem like enough, though, if you are a farmer or rancher who uses the land for your own business needs.
This concept is a hot topic of debate between landowners and the gas and oil industry, which is seeing a huge boom and larger than average land needs. There have been several attempts by lawmakers to give landowners more rights when it comes to eminent domain, especially ranchers and farmers. They have also pushed for more transparency from the companies involved.
The overall goal of reform is to make it fairer to landowners and hold companies accountable for using this right. Defenders say they do not use it often and it is a last resort, so when they need to evoke it, it is really needed. This information is for education and is not legal advice.