Legislation protecting property rights advances

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources Tuesday approved SB 291 by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to protect property owners by requiring gas utilities to notify residents in writing five days before accessing its right-of-way on residents’ property.

SB 291 ensures that residents stay informed about gas utilities’ activities that may affect or damage their property, according to Senator Nelson’s office.

Currently, gas utilities may enter property without warning to conduct business that may negatively impact a person’s home. The bill authorizes the Railroad Commission to assess $200 penalty for each entry without proper notification, with exceptions for emergencies, service restoration and regularly scheduled service readings.

“During the interim, Denton County residents learned a local gas provider intended to clear a 50-foot easement over a 12 mile stretch of right of way to make it easier for the company to conduct aerial safety inspections,” said Senator Nelson.

“Throughout this process, we were told that residents were only being notified of the project as a courtesy – that there was no legal requirement to notify residents in writing in advance of entering their property. This legislation simply puts into law a requirement that residents be notified in advance of entry to their property.”

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