Monthly Archives: July 2014

Texas RRC Proposed Rule Would Change Application Process for Pipelines Claiming Eminent Domain Power

The Texas Railroad Commission has published a proposed rule that would change the process for classifying a pipeline as a “common carrier” or a “gas utility.”  Common carrier and gas utility status is significant as pipelines that are common carriers or gas utility have the power of eminent domain, allowing them to take private property upon which to place their pipeline.  To read a prior post on common carrier pipelines, click here. Currently, in order to achieve common carrier status, a pipeline company need only indicate that they are a common… Read More →

July 25, 2014 Weekly Round Up

It has been a warm, humid week here in Aggieland!  Here are a few ag law stories making the news recently. * Plaintiffs’ Attorney Explains Case Against Prius Audit Firm.  An attorney representing 46 plaintiffs who were injured or killed from a 2011 listeria outbreak traced to a cantaloupe farm in Colorado wrote a very interesting blog about the suits his clients have filed against the audit firm who gave the farm a superior rating in the days just before the tainted fruit was shipped.  The attorney discusses the facts, legal… Read More →

What Are “Ag-Gag” Laws?

Recently, so-called “ag-gag” laws (often more formally titled as agricultural protection statutes) have frequently been in the news across the country.  Progressive Cattlemen magazine asked me to write an article explaining exactly what these laws are and how they work. Although about half of U.S. states have attempted to pass “ag gag” laws, only seven have been successful.  Details of the laws vary across the seven states in which they have been adopted (North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Utah, Iowa, Missouri, and Idaho), their general purpose is to prohibit a person… Read More →

Judge Upholds Constitutionality of Indiana’s Right to Farm Law

Last week, an Indiana trial court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s right to farm statute  Amrstrong v. Maxwell Farms of Indiana Inc. [Read opinion here.] Background The farm property at issue has been used continuously as a farm since the early 1900′s. Gary Foulke owns the property and the finishing barn sitting upon it.  Maxwell Farms began placing hogs in Foulke’s barn in June 2007.  Foulke then finished out the hogs, caring for them from the time they weigh approximately 50 pounds until they weigh approximately 260 pounds. … Read More →

July 18, 2014 Weekly Round Up

This week we have an interesting mix of ag law in the news. *Augustin Plains Ranch LLC Files Another Water Use Application in New Mexico.  Augustin Plains Ranch LLC has filed another application to drill 37 wells and pipe 17 million gallons of water per year from rural western New Mexico to the Bernalillo County.  A similar proposal was rejected by the State Engineer in 2012 finding it too broad and too vague.  Numerous ranchers, landowners, environmental groups, and irrigation districts opposed the application in 2012–one of the most contested applications in New Mexico history–fearing… Read More →

Breaking News: Voters Will Have Final Say on Fracking in Denton

Denton voters will have the final say on whether fracking will be permitted within city limits. Last night, the Denton City Council voted 5-2 to reject the petition and unanimously to place the issue on the November ballot and let voters decide whether to ban fracking within Denton.  The vote came at approximately 3:00 am after eight hours of public discussion.  More than 100 citizens spoke at the meeting and more than 500 people were in attendance.  [Read more here and here and here.] Earlier this year, nearly 2,000… Read More →

ABA Blawg 100 Nominations

It’s that time of year again when the American Bar Association is seeking nominations to help it decide on the Top 100 law blogs (“Blawgs”).  The ABA is accepting nominations from now until August 8, 2014.  To nominate the Texas Ag Law Blog, just click here and fill out the quick nomination form. And for your reading pleasure, here are a list of the Top 100 Blawgs last year!

Texas Supreme Court Sides with South Texas Ranch in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The Texas Supreme Court recently considered the duty of a landowner and his employees with regard to people trespassing on the property.  The Boerjan v. Rodriguez  decision affirmed that a landowner or occupier of land owes only a limited duty not to intentionally injure a trespasser.  This case was closely followed by a number of agricultural interest groups in Texas and provides important information for landowners who confront trespassers on their property.  [View opinion here.] Background In this case, a family (father, mother, and child) from Mexico hired a driver to provide transportation… Read More →

July 11, 2014 Weekly Round Up

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to speak at the American Quarter Horse Association’s Youth Excellence Seminar here in College Station.  It does not seem like that long ago I was going to these type of conferences as a 4-H and FFA member!  I hate to pick favorites, but I’ll admit that was the most fun presentation that I’ve given.  The kids asked great questions, had thoughtful debates, and were extremely interested in the ag law issues raised.  Looking at the 40 young people in that room, I’d say our future is in… Read More →

Texas Water Law in the National News

This week, Texas water law has been prominently in the national news.   NBC published a story called “The Last Drop: America’s Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis.”  [Read article here.] This article discussed the prolonged drought in the Texas Panhandle and the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer.  The article outlines numerous causes of the water crisis, including drought, population growth, agricultural irrigation, and Texas water law. The article accurately explains Texas groundwater law, governed by the right of capture, which provides that a landowner owns the groundwater beneath his property.  Importantly, as… Read More →