TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

TITLE 2. PUBLIC DOMAIN

SUBTITLE A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

CHAPTER 11. PROVISIONS GENERALLY APPLICABLE TO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

SUBCHAPTER D. REGULATION OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

§ 11.071. RECOVERY OF VALUE OF MINERALS AND TIMBER.
     (a) At least semiannually, the commissioner and the county attorney of each county shall report to the attorney general the name and address of each person who has taken any minerals or other property of value from public land or who has cut, used, destroyed, sold, or otherwise appropriated any timber from public land and shall report any other data within their knowledge. The county attorneys also shall assist the attorney general relating to these matters in any manner he requests.
     (b) The attorney general shall file suit in any county in which all or part of the injury occurred or in the county in which the defendant resides to recover the value of the property, or with the consent of the governor, the attorney general may compromise and settle any of these liabilities with or without suit.
     (c) The attorney general shall pay all amounts collected or received by him to the permanent funds to which they belong.
     (d) From amounts recovered by suit, the attorney general shall receive a fee of 10 percent and the county attorney shall receive a fee of five percent, and from amounts recovered by compromise, the attorney general and county attorney shall each receive one-half of the fees to be taxed against the defendant as costs. No county attorney may receive compensation from cases not reported by him to the attorney general.
     (e) Except as otherwise provided by law, no person may use for his benefit or cut or remove any mineral, plant, or anything of value located on land belonging to the permanent school fund without proper authority from the commissioner.
     (f) In addition to any other penalties provided by law, a person violating the provisions of Subsection (e) of this section shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each thing of value cut, used, or removed. All civil penalties collected under this subsection shall be credited to the permanent school fund.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2352, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 208, § 9, eff. Aug. 31, 1987.

§ 11.072. FENCES WITH AND WITHOUT GATES.
     (a) A person who has used any of the pasture land by joining fences or otherwise and who builds or maintains more than three miles lineal measure of fences running in the same general direction without a gate in it shall be fined not less than $200 nor more than $1,000.
     (b) The gate in the fence described in Subsection (a) of this section shall be at least 10 feet wide and shall not be locked or kept closed so that it obstructs free ingress or egress.
     (c) The provisions of this section do not apply to persons who have previously settled on land not their own, if the enclosure is 200 acres or less and if the principal pursuit of the person on the land is agriculture.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2353, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 11.073. DEFINITION OF FENCING.
     In Sections 11.074 and 11.075 of this code, "fencing" means the erection of any structure of wood, wire, wood and wire, or any other material, whether it encloses land on all sides or only one or more sides, which is intended to prevent the passage of cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, or hogs.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2353, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 11.074. HERDING AND LINE-RIDING.
     (a) No owner of stock, manager, agent, employee, or servant may fence, use, occupy, or appropriate by herding or line-riding any portion of the public land of the state or land which belongs to the public schools or asylums unless he obtains a lease for the land from the proper authority.
     (b) Any owner of stock or his manager, agent, employee, or servant who fences, uses, occupies, or appropriates by herding or line-riding any portion of the land covered by Subsection (a) of this section without a lease for the land, on conviction, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 and confined in the county jail for not less than three months nor more than two years. Each day for which a violation continues constitutes a separate offense.
     (c) Prosecution under this section may take place in the county in which a portion of the land is located or to which the county may be attached for judicial purposes or in Travis County.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2353, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 11.075. APPROPRIATION OF LAND BY FENCING.
     (a) Unless a lease for the land is obtained, any appropriation of public land of the state or land which belongs to the public schools and asylums by fencing or by enclosures consisting partly of fencing and partly of natural obstacles or impediments to the passage of livestock is an unlawful appropriation of land which is punishable by the penalty provided in Subsection (b) of Section 11.074 of this code.
     (b) Each day that the violation continues constitutes a separate offense.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2353, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 11.076. UNLAWFUL ENCLOSURES.
     (a) If the governor is credibly informed that any portion of the public land or the land which belongs to any of the special land funds has been enclosed or that fences have been erected on the land in violation of law, he may direct the attorney general to institute suit in the name of the state for the recovery of the land, damages, and fees.
     (b) The fee for the attorney general may not be less than $10 if the amount recovered is less than $100, but if the amount of recovery is over $100, the fee shall be 10 percent paid by the defendant for the use and occupancy of the land and the removal of the enclosure and fences.
     (c) The damages may not be less than five cents an acre a year for the period of occupancy.
     (d) In a suit brought under this section, the court shall issue a writ of sequestration directed to any sheriff in the state requiring him to take into actual custody the land and any property on the land which belongs to the person who is unlawfully occupying the land and to hold the land and other property until the court issues further orders. The writ may be executed by the sheriff to whom it is delivered, and he shall proceed to execute the writ.
     (e) The defendant in the suit may replevy the property as provided in other cases by executing the bond required by law.
     (f) An appeal from a suit brought under this section has precedence over other cases.
     (g) If judgment is recovered by the state in the suit, the court shall order the enclosure or fences removed and shall charge the costs of the suit to the defendant. Property on the land which belongs to the defendant and which is not exempt from execution may be used to pay costs and damages in addition to the personal liability of the defendant.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2353, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., p. 2644, ch. 707, § 4(32), eff. Aug. 31, 1981.

§ 11.077. SUIT AGAINST ADVERSE CLAIMANT.
     If any public land is held, occupied, or claimed adversely to the state or to any fund of the state by any person or if land is forfeited to the state for any reason, the attorney general shall file suit for the land, for rent on the land, and to recover damages to the land.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2354, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 11.078. VENUE.
     A suit brought under the provisions of Section 11.076 or Section 11.077 of this code shall be brought in the county in which the land or any part of the land is located.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2354, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 11.079. ACCESS TO LAND.
     (a) The state, a permittee of the state, or a lessee or assignee of state land or minerals dedicated to the permanent school fund may exercise the power of eminent domain to obtain an easement whenever it is necessary to enter or cross the land of another person for the purpose of obtaining access to any land or interest in land that is owned by the state and that is dedicated by law to the permanent school fund.
     (b) If the state or such permittee, lessee, or assignee and the private owner of the land through which an easement for access is sought cannot agree on the place or the terms for the easement to obtain access, either the state or such permittee, lessee, or assignee may, in order to provide that access, exercise this power of eminent domain in the manner provided by Chapter 21, Property Code.
     (c) Easements acquired under this section are declared to be for the sole use and benefit of the state, its permittee, lessee, or assignee and may be used only to the extent necessary to achieve the required access or for the purposes for which the permit, lease, or assignment was granted. An easement so acquired is hereby dedicated to the permanent school fund.
     (d) If the state desires to utilize the power of eminent domain to obtain an easement under this section for access to a tract of land, the attorney general shall institute condemnation proceedings as provided under Chapter 21, Property Code. If agreement regarding an easement for access cannot be reached with a private landowner, a permittee of the state or a lessee or assignee of land or minerals dedicated to the permanent school fund desiring to utilize this section to obtain an easement for access to a tract of land must institute the condemnation proceedings authorized by this section.
     (e) If the easement acquired under this section is taken solely to benefit a tract of land in which the permanent school fund owns only a mineral interest, the easement shall not be permanent but shall be limited to the term that the state minerals are held under a valid prospect permit or lease. The easement will terminate when the prospect permit and lease expires or terminates.
     (f) This section is cumulative of the provisions of Subtitles C and D, Title 2, Natural Resources Code, relating to access to land and to the power of eminent domain. The special fund accounts established under Sections 51.401, 52.297, and 53.155 of this code may be used to compensate landowners for an easement to obtain access under this section.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1061, § 1, eff. Aug. 31, 1987.

§ 11.0791. OTHER PROVISIONS REGARDING ACCESS TO STATE LANDS.
     When a state governmental entity sells state land, the entity shall require that the state have the right of ingress and egress to remaining state land in the immediate area by an easement to a public thoroughfare.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1499, § 1.41, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

§ 11.080. DAMAGES TO PERSONS AND PERSONALTY.
     When access to any land is obtained by the state under Section 11.079 of this code, the state shall be liable to the property owner to the same extent that any private easement holder would be held liable for the use of access across privately owned property.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1061, § 2, eff. Aug. 31, 1987.

§ 11.081. RULES.
     The General Land Office of the State of Texas shall promulgate and enforce rules governing the construction, maintenance, and use of roads created by access granted under Section 11.079 of this code.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 1061, § 3, eff. Aug. 31, 1987.

§ 11.082. NOTICE TO SCHOOL LAND BOARD.
     (a) A state agency or political subdivision may not formally take any action that may affect state land dedicated to the permanent school fund without first giving notice of the action to the board. Notice of the proposed action shall be delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the deputy commissioner of the asset management division of the General Land Office on or before the state agency's or political subdivision's formal initiation of the action.
     (b) The notice must:
          (1) describe the proposed action;
          (2) state the location of the permanent school fund land to be affected; and
          (3) describe any foreseeable impact or effect of the state agency's or political subdivision's action on the permanent school fund land.
     (c) An action taken by a state agency or political subdivision without the notice required by Subsection (a) of this section that affects state land dedicated to the permanent school fund is not effective as to permanent school fund land affected by the action.
     (d) In this section:
          (1) "Action" means:
               (A) formal adoption of an agency or political subdivision policy;
               (B) final adoption of an administrative rule;
               (C) issuance of findings of fact or law;
               (D) issuance of an administrative order in an administrative hearing; or
               (E) adoption of a local ordinance or resolution.
          (2) "Board" means the School Land Board.
          (3) "Initiation" means the commencement of the first phase of public consideration of a formal policy, rule, or ordinance, or a hearing undertaken by a state agency or political subdivision that is intended to result in final adoption of a formal policy, rule, or ordinance.
          (4) "Political subdivision" means a county, public school district, or special-purpose district or authority.
          (5) "State agency" means:
               (A) a department, commission, board, office, bureau, council, or other agency in the executive branch of state government other than the Texas Department of Transportation and the Railroad Commission of Texas; or
               (B) a university system or an institution of higher education as defined in Section 61.003, Education Code.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 991, § 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

§ 11.083. RETENTION OF MINERAL RIGHTS.
     The state shall retain the mineral rights to state land that is sold unless it is impractical to do so.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1499, § 1.42, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

§ 11.084. SCHOOL LAND BOARD APPROVAL OF PATENT FOR INTEREST IN LAND RELEASED BY STATE.
     (a) The School Land Board may approve a tract of land for patenting to release all or part of the state's interest in land, excluding mineral rights, if the board:
          (1) finds that:
               (A) the land is surveyed, unsold, permanent school fund land according to the records of the land office;
               (B) the land is not patentable under the law in effect before January 1, 2002; and
               (C) the person claiming title to the land:
                    (i) holds the land under color of title;
                    (ii) holds the land under a chain of title that originated on or before January 1, 1952;
                    (iii) acquired the land without actual knowledge that title to the land was vested in the State of Texas;
                    (iv) has a deed to the land recorded in the appropriate county; and
                    (v) has paid all taxes assessed on the land and any interest and penalties associated with any period of tax delinquency; and
          (2) unanimously approves the release of the state's interest.
     (b) This section does not apply to:
          (1) beach land, submerged or filled land, or islands; or
          (2) land that has been determined to be state-owned by judicial decree.
     (c) This section may not be used to:
          (1) resolve boundary disputes; or
          (2) change the mineral reservation in an existing patent.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 310, § 1, eff. Nov. 6, 2001.

§ 11.085. PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING FOR PATENT FOR INTEREST IN LAND RELEASED BY STATE.
     (a) A person claiming title to land may apply for a patent under Section 11.084 by filing with the commissioner an application on a form prescribed by the commissioner. The claimant must attach to the application all documentation necessary to support the claimant's request for a patent.
     (b) The land office shall review the claimant's application to determine whether the claimant substantially meets the criteria for issuance of a patent under Section 11.084.
     (c) If the land office determines that the application is complete for consideration by the board, the commissioner shall convene the board to determine whether a patent is to be issued under Section 11.084.
     (d) The commissioner may adopt rules as necessary to administer Section 11.084 and this section.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 310, § 1, eff. Nov. 6, 2001.

§ 11.086. CONFIDENTIALITY OF CERTAIN INFORMATION RELATED TO PURCHASE OR SALE OF REAL PROPERTY.
     (a) Information relating to the location, or purchase price, or sale price of real property purchased or sold by or for the School Land Board, Veterans' Land Board, land office, or commissioner under authority granted by this code is confidential and exempt from disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, until a deed for the property is executed. Information that is confidential and exempted from disclosure under this subsection includes an appraisal, completed report, evaluation, investigation conducted for the purpose of locating or determining the purchase or sale price of the property, or any report prepared in anticipation of purchasing or selling real property.
     (b) Information that is confidential and excluded from disclosure under Subsection (a) is not subject to a subpoena directed to the School Land Board, Veterans' Land Board, land office, commissioner, attorney general, or governor.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1317, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Renumbered from § 11.084 and amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 532, § 1, eff. June 20, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, § 2(111), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.