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Real property

easement appurtenant

An easement appurtenant—also known as an appurtenant easement, an appendant easement, or a pure easement—is an easement created to benefit another tract of land, with the use of the easement being incident to the ownership of that other tract of land.

An easement appurtenant benefits one tract of land (the dominant estate or tenement) to the detriment or burden of the other tract of land (the servient estate or tenement).

Easements appurtenant are attached to the land (are said to “run with the land”) and are automatically transferred when either the dominant estate or the servient estate is sold or transferred to a new owner.

In Texas, an easement appurtenant is recognized as a type of property interest that allows the holder of the easement the right to use a portion of another's property for a specific purpose. This right is beneficial to the dominant estate and burdens the servient estate. Texas law acknowledges that easements appurtenant are tied to the land itself rather than to the individual owner, meaning they 'run with the land.' Consequently, when either the dominant or servient property is sold or transferred, the easement appurtenant automatically passes to the new owner. The creation, modification, and termination of easements appurtenant in Texas can be governed by written agreements, necessity, implication, or prescription, and they are subject to the statutes and case law that address property rights and real estate transactions in the state.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

Real Property, Trusts, and Estates Law
While easements are generally governed by state law, federal statutes may come into play when the easement involves federal land or has implications on federal projects.

Federal statutes do not typically provide detailed laws on easements appurtenant as these are usually matters of state property law. However, federal laws may be relevant when an easement appurtenant affects federal land or is required for federal projects. For example, the creation of an easement appurtenant across federal land for access to private property may require compliance with federal environmental laws and regulations. Additionally, federal statutes may govern the process by which easements are created, modified, or terminated on federal land.

National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1241-1251
This federal statute can be relevant to easements appurtenant when the easement is for the purpose of creating or maintaining a national trail.

The National Trails System Act provides for the creation and management of national scenic and historic trails. Under this Act, easements may be granted on private land to allow for the development and maintenance of these trails. While these easements are typically non-exclusive and limited to the specific purpose of the trail, they can be considered easements appurtenant as they benefit the public and the trail system rather than a particular individual or piece of land.

Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, 43 U.S.C. §§ 1701-1787
This Act may be relevant when an easement appurtenant is needed across federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) governs the way in which public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management are managed. Under FLPMA, the Secretary of the Interior has the authority to grant easements over public lands for various purposes, including rights-of-way for utilities and roads. These easements, while granted for specific uses, can be appurtenant to the land they serve, thus benefiting the dominant estate and burdening the servient federal land.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321-4370m-12
NEPA may be implicated when an easement appurtenant involves significant federal action that could affect the environment.

NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impact of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. The creation of an easement appurtenant that requires significant federal action, such as the construction of infrastructure on federal land, would trigger a NEPA review. This review process includes an environmental assessment (EA) or a more detailed environmental impact statement (EIS) if the proposed action is expected to significantly affect the environment. NEPA ensures that environmental factors are considered in the decision-making process for easements involving federal land or federal funding.