Allen v Enbridge G & P E. Tex., Tyler Court of Appeals, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 987, January 29, 2016
An easement by a public utility resulting from a condemnation action must provide that any assignee also be a public utility.
Enbridge moved to condemn an easement across the Allen’s land for the construction of a natural gas pipeline. Enbridge is a “gas utility” with the right to condemn land for the limited purpose of constructing a pipeline for the transportation of natural gas. The order stated that the pipeline could transport natural gas “which may include various constituent elements.” The Allen’s claimed that this language would permit the transportation of substances in addition to natural gas which would not be permitted by the terms of the easement. The court of appeals, citing both the dictionary and Texas Supreme Court’s definition held that the term “natural gas” includes elements besides methane, such as natural gas liquids, condensate, helium, sulfur and nitrogen. The Allen’s also claimed that the court’s order permitting the assignment of the easement to any third party was too broad and the court of appeals agreed. The order was amended to permit assignment to only another “gas utility.”