Eminent domain is the legal authority granted to various entities to take the private land for public use. Only a government or private body with the right to do so can take the private property.
Major eminent domain disputes arise relatively frequently in Texas, and proposed projects ranging from bullet trains and border walls to continued oil and gas drilling serve as reminders of how important it is for landowners to protect their rights.
It's an obvious thing to say, but here it is: when you purchase or inherit real estate, the property is then yours; no one can simply take it from you. But "simply" is the key word here.
Landowners in Texas are aware that the government has the power of eminent domain -- the right to take private property for public use. There are legal precedents, however, for also allowing private entities -- oil and gas companies, for example -- to exercise the power of eminent domain.
The growth of the domestic gas and oil drilling industry has brought economic benefits to many mineral-rights owners who agree to leases that allow the companies to drill on the owners' land.