In an April 3 story on businessman and Tarrant Regional Water District critic Monty Bennett, he states that he attempted to reach the TRWD to discuss the pipeline crossing his property, but did not receive a response.

Jim Oliver, executive director of the TRWD asked to respond to that assentation:

From Oliver:

Beginning in 2010, TRWD [Tarrant Regional Water District] real estate professionals attempted to engage in discussions with Mr. Monty Bennett in order to conduct preliminary surveys for a possible pipeline easement across his recreational property in Henderson County. When those requests were ignored, TRWD sent a formal request, to which Mr. Bennett responded by saying, among other things, that “your request to enter into [my] Property, for any purpose whatsoever, is categorically denied,” warning of the presence of “high-powered rifles” and that any violation would be treated “as a trespass and [he] will respond accordingly.”

Subsequent requests for meetings were rebuffed by Mr. Bennett, including in a September 21, 2011 letter from TRWD’s counsel stating that “we are willing to meet…at the owner’s Dallas location, in Henderson Country, or at another reasonable location.” Eventually TRWD was granted an injunction to access the property in December 2012. Mr. Bennett still would not agree to meet and in March 2013 filed a lawsuit against the District seeking to invalidate the IPL project. To this date Mr. Bennett has not agreed to meet with TRWD regarding the pipeline project but has instead pursued multiple lawsuits, none of which has to date been successful. As with all landowners, TRWD remains willing to work with Mr. Bennett to attempt resolve the outstanding issues presented by a project which will provide water to 4 million people.

The story:

(1) comment


Eminent domain is abused in Texas, there's no doubt about that. Threats with a high powered rifle seems to be an average Texan response to invading a man's property. This isn't something I would personally condone, however I do understand the anger of feeling helpless to stop further abuse of a law that was probably not intended to confiscate land by force without seriously looking for alternatives or paying significantly for that land and for the inconvenience.

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