Category Archives: WOTUS

President Trump Issues Executive Order on WOTUS

As many had anticipated, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Tuesday dealing with the “Waters of the United States” rule. [Read full order here.] You may recall that back in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers passed a rule “clarifying” the definition of “Waters of the United States” as the term is used in the Clean Water Act.  Immediately, numerous States (including Texas), agricultural industry groups, and other businesses filed suits across the country claiming that  the new rule was too broadly written and gave… Read More →

Round 2 in Hawkes v. Corps of Engineers Goes to Landowners

The litigation continues for the parties involved in Hawkes v. US Army Corps of Engineers.  This Clean Water Act case made its way to the United States Supreme Court last year, where the Court held that a landowner has the right to challenge an approved jurisdictional determination by the government that his or her property was a “water of the United States,” and therefore, subject to the Clean Water Act.  [Read prior blog post explaining that decision here.] After that decision, the case was sent back to the trial… Read More →

Where Do We Stand on WOTUS

For the third year in a row, Shannon Ferrell and I have decided to cover the status of the “waters of the United States” rule in our annual article for the Southwest Farm Press.  Between the Duarte Nursery trial court decision in California, the landowner victory in the United States Supreme Court Hawkes ruling, and the speculation about actions that the Trump administration might take, we had plenty of angles to consider.  To read our article, click here.

January 20, 2017 Weekly Round Up

Right-to-farm Supreme Court arguments heard at Colony High School This week I traveled to Lockney for the Caprock Crops Conference.  As usual, this was a great conference.  Thanks to Caitlin and Cristen for inviting me to present.  To those of you joining from that meeting, welcome!  Here are some at law stories in the news this week. * US Supreme Court will hear WOTUS dispute over jurisdiction, no merits to be considered.  The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in a dispute involving where challenges to the… Read More →

Clean Water Act Webinar and Report

Today, I’ve got a couple of resources for those of you interested in the Clean Water Act. First, the Congressional Research Service recently published a report titled “Evolution of the Meaning of ‘Waters of the United States’ in the Clean Water Act” that walks through the path that the term “waters of the US” has taken over the past several decades.  It is an interesting look at the history of the Act and the cases that have attempted to define the scope of federal jurisdiction in this area…. Read More →

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 →

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 1, 2016 Weekly Round Up

This week found me in west Texas speaking at county extension meetings in Reagan, Coke, and Upton Counties.  Many thanks to county extension agents Chase McPhaul, Morgan Runyan, and Raymond Quigg for the invitations.  Welcome to those of you new to the blog from these programs.  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * US Supreme Court Hears Argument in Hawkes Clean Water Act Case.  This week, oral argument was held in an important Clean Water Act case at the United States Supreme… 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 →