Category Archives: Water Law

Unanimous Victory in United States Supreme Court for Landowners

Last week, Chief Justice Roberts wrote a unanimous opinion in the case United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, holding that landowners do have the right to challenge jurisdictional determinations by the EPA that water on their lands is governed by the Clean Water Act.  This decision is extremely important for landowners across the country.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The full factual background of this case was set forth in this prior blog post.  Essentially, the Corps of Engineers (COE) determined that waters on land owned by… Read More →

June 10, 2016 Weekly Round Up

We have several new blog readers this week thanks to several presentations I’ve given recently.  Two weeks ago, I was in Lubbock for the 10th Annual State Bar of Texas John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course.  In my book, this is absolute must-attend for any agricultural law attorneys!  Kudos to course directors David Waggoner and Trace Blair for all of their hard work.  Last week, I traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma and Ft. Worth, Texas for our Ranchers’ Leasing Workshops, funded by the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center.  We… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Accommodation Doctrine Applies to Groundwater

On May 27, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v. City of Lubbock.  Many Texas agricultural and water law attorneys were in Lubbock attending the State Bar of Texas Agricultural Law Continuing Legal Education Seminar.  As soon as the opinion was released, you should have seen everyone scurrying around! This case (on which I have previously blogged here) is extremely important for Texas landowners and groundwater owners.  For the first time, the Texas Supreme Court announced that the accommodation doctrine, previously applied… Read More →

Landowner Attorney Discusses Private Property Rights

If you were not at the 2016 Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Convention, it looks like you missed a great presentation by San Antonio attorney and third-generation rancher, Joseph Fitzsimons.  Fortunately, Colleen Schreiber published a great article recapping the presentation for Livestock Weekly magazine.  With their permission, I am republishing Colleen’s article here. Landowner Attorney Discusses Water Rights At TSCRA Meeting By Colleen Schreiber FORT WORTH — Landowners have won some important legislative and court battles in the property rights arena of late. Third-generation rancher and attorney Joseph… Read More →

April 29, 2016 Weekly Round Up

I want to apologize for the lack of blog posts over the last couple of weeks.  We had a death in our family and have been dealing with all that goes with that situation.  I hope to be back in the saddle with posts back to normal next week.  For now, here are a look at some of the ag law stories in the news this last week of April. * WOTUS Ruling Not Coming Anytime Soon.  Ag Professional recently published an article discussing the likely timeline for… Read More →

April 15, 2016 Weekly Round Up

First, I want to apologize to those of you attending the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Convention for my absence last Friday.  We had a family medical emergency pop up on my way to Ft. Worth that required me to turn around and come home.  I’m happy to report that all is well now and hopefully my husband’s grandfather is on the mend.  Second, it’s been another busy week in the ag law realm. Here are some of the key stories in the news. * Texas Water Development… Read More →

Case Looks at Winter Grazing and NPDES Permit Requirement

Like many other agricultural operations, my family grows crops and raises livestock.  When I learned of a case decided last year by the Minnesota Supreme Court that addressed whether farms like my own family’s would be required to obtain a federal NPDES permit in order to graze livestock on our fields, I was very interested and concerned.  Today, we will take a look at this issue in In the Matter of Reichmann Land and Cattle, LLP.  This case offered interesting insight into the issue of whether winter grazing of… Read More →

February 26, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Hello and welcome to the last Friday in February!  Earlier this week, I was in College Station speaking along with my friend and colleague, Shannon Ferrell, at a program called Petroleum Production on Agricultural Lands in Texas:  Managing Risks and Opportunities.  We had a great turn out and want to welcome those of you joining us from that presentation!  Now, on to the agricultural law news of the week, much of which is water related today. * Breakdown of the Bragg verdict.  As you read earlier this week, a… Read More →

Jury Awards $2.5 Million to Braggs

A jury ruled on Monday that the Edwards Aquifer Authority owes $2.5 million in compensation to the Braggs because groundwater permit denials resulted in a regulatory taking. For those of you who might not have been following along, the Braggs filed suit against the EAA back in 2004 after they were denied permits to pump groundwater to irrigate their pecan orchards.  The trial court found in favor of the Braggs initially–agreeing that the denials constituted a regulatory taking of the Bragg’s property interest in groundwater–and awarded $732,493.40.  Both sides… Read More →

BREAKING NEWS: TX and NM Supreme Court Rulings Impact Agriculture

Well it turned into a busy week for ag law right at the last minute and after I posted the weekly round up.  Major actions from the Texas and New Mexico Supreme Courts that have major impacts on the agriculture industry in both states. First up, the Texas Supreme Court will NOT hear the appeal in Texas Farm Bureau v. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  This case arose during the drought of 2012 when there was a shortage of water on the Brazos River.  Dow Chemical had a 1942 water right… Read More →