State judge Tom Rugg Sr. granted the pipeline company’s requests to take possession of the tracts under state eminent- domain laws after a hearing today in Beaumont, Texas.
'The statutory requirements for the issuance of writs of possession are now met,' Rugg said in a two-page ruling, after TransCanada agreed to increase the size and type of surety bonds it posted in the proceeding.
The landowners urged Rugg to deny TransCanada’s access to the disputed tracts, citing a Texas Supreme Court ruling last year that limits the condemnation powers that pipelines can use under state law.
Rugg told lawyers in a letter this week that he wouldn’t hear the landowners’ challenges under the new high-court standards at this stage of the proceedings. A Texas appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments next week that rely on the ruling in a separate eminent-domain case against the Keystone XL pipeline."