Folks in Texas interested in the effects eminent domain might have on farms, ranches and private property in general may want to attend a hearing May 8 in Hondo, Texas, at the Medina County courthouse.
The hearing will consider a request by Southwest Gulf Railroad to condemn property on which they intend to construct a rail spur to connect a privately owned quarry to an existing rail line.
Opponents of the request say condemnation should not be allowed because the spur is not a common carrier or constructed for public use. The Medina County Environmental Action Association (MCEAA) has filed an amicus brief supporting the private landowner.
Dr. Robert Fitzgerald, representing MCEAA, provides details.
The hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 8, 2017 at 1:00 p m in the Medina County second floor courtroom in Hondo. Arguments will be heard by 38th Judicial District Judge Camille Dubose.
“MCEAA has filed an amicus brief in the case, supporting the private landowner and explaining why Southwest Gulf Railroad cannot condemn his land. The hearing, which is open to the public, is to request that the Court consider the brief,” Fitzgerald says.
“Southwest Gulf Railroad, a private company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vulcan Materials, is not a common carrier or a public use, and therefore is not entitled under the Texas Constitution and recent Texas Supreme Court decisions to condemn land for its proposed rail spur.”
He adds that the spur will carry only Vulcan’s crushed limestone from its proposed quarry north of Quihi to the existing rail line at Hwy 90. “The spur would divide the Upper Quihi Rural Historic District in half, making it ineligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
“Southwest Gulf Railroad does not want the Court to consider MCEAA’s amicus brief,” Fitzgerald says. “It has committed to a failed strategy of eminent domain abuse, and now seeks to project its fear of failure outward onto this community, to intimidate individual landowners to give up their rights, and pressure the courts and elected officials to do their bidding. Medina County landowners will not be silenced.
”Everyone who owns property or plans to own property should attend this hearing and the subsequent trial later this year.”