July 3, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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Last week I was in Denton, Texas speaking at the Denton County Agricultural Law Program.  County Extension Agent Brandon Boughen put together a great program for participants that included Wayne Hayenga on estate planning and myself discussing water law and agricultural leases.  Thanks to Brandon for all of his hard work! It has been a very busy week for news related to agricultural law.  Major decisions were issued by the New York Court of Appeals regarding local agencies’ rights to prohibit oil and gas production (read blog here) and by… Read More →

Breaking News: New York’s Highest Court Upholds Oil and Gas Production Ban

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New York’s highest appellate court issued an important decision today related to oil and gas production and the authority of municipalities to ban production in their bounds.  This decision comes while a state-wide moratorium barring fracking in New York continues and has been in place since 2008. Background The combined cases involved legal challenges to oil and gas production bans by the Town of Dryden (located within the Marcellus Shale region) and the Town of Middlefield.  The Dryden ordinance prohibited all oil and gas exploration, extraction, and storage activities… Read More →

PUC Sides with Landowner in “Wiggle Room” Decision Phase I

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Last week, the Texas Public Utility Commission issued an order in a dispute between landowners Johnny & Eloise Vinson and Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC.  To read the full PUC order, click here.  This order addresses the issue of whether a transmission line company has “wiggle room” in building a line once a route has been agreed upon by the PUC and all parties to the PUC routing hearing. Background In June 2010, Oncor sought approval for a 40 mile transmission line that would cross through Denton, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise Counties.  The… Read More →

Follow Me on Twitter!

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Just in case you want to have access to even more ag law news, I am now on Twitter!  Plus, they tell me I am limited to 140 characters, so I will have to be far more brief than I am on the Texas Agriculture Law Blog! I will be posting links to various ag law stories, keeping you up to date on my presentation schedule, and whatever else folks do on Twitter. You can find me here at @TiffDowell. Happy Tweeting!

Pipeline Easement Negotiation Checklist

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Due in large part to the oil and gas boom, many landowners across Texas and the rest of the country are currently negotiating pipeline easements with pipeline companies.  In order to assist landowners in this endeavor, I prepared a checklist of terms that should be considered when negotiating a pipeline easement. I am happy to announce that the checklist has been published and is now available for FREE download from the Texas A&M Agrilife Bookstore.  Although the checklist was drafted with Texas law in mind, the suggested terms… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Implied Surface Use Includes All Pooled Tracts

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court reversed both the Washington County trial court and First Circuit Court of Appeals (Houston) in Key Operating & Equipment, Inc. v. Hegar.  I previously blogged about the court of appeals opinion and the Supreme Court review of this case here. Background This case involved two neighboring tracts of land known as the Richardson tract and the Curbo tract.  Key Operating leased the mineral rights on the Richardson tract since 1987.  From 1994 to 2000,… Read More →

June 20, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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This has been a busy week!  On Monday evening, I was in Wheeler, Texas giving a presentation on estate and succession planning.  County Agent Dale Dunlap invited me to come and I was impressed with the great questions from the audience on these important issues. On Tuesday, I headed for Boston for the Universities Council on Water Resources Conference at Tufts, University.  I was fortunate to present on two panels at the conference.  On Tuesday, I spoke along with Dr. Ari Michelsen of Texas A&M and Dr. Brian Hurd… Read More →

Texas Appellate Court Rules No Accomodation Doctrine for Groundwater

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Yesterday, the Amarillo Court of Appeals issued an important decision regarding Texas groundwater law.  In City of Lubbock v. Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC, the court considered whether the accommodation doctrine applies to groundwater under Texas law.  The court refused to extend the oil and gas law-based doctrine to groundwater, but indicated that this issue may be properly decided by the Texas Supreme Court or the Texas Legislature.  [Read opinion here.] Background In 1953, the owners of the land at issue conveyed the groundwater rights associated with such land to… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Considers Arbitration Clause in Cotton Case

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Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision relating to the well-publicized disputes between cotton farmers, cotton gins, and marketing cooperatives that arose in 2010 after cotton prices soared.  In this case, Venture Cotton Cooperative v. Freeman, the Supreme Court analyzed the validity of an arbitration clause contained in the marketing agreement between the farmers and the marketing cooperative.  [Read full opinion here.] Background In 2010, Venture Cotton Cooperative, a cotton marketing cooperative, operated a marketing pool for the sale of its members’ cotton.  Venture obtained members… Read More →

Texas v. New Mexico: Review of New Mexico’s Motion to Dismiss

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*This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.* This week I will be in Medford, Massachusetts presenting on the Texas v. New Mexico battle over the Rio Grande at the University Council of Water Resources conference.  As part of my preparation for my presentations, I thoroughly reviewed the briefing filed in the Supreme Court by all parties in this case.  Today, I will review New Mexico’s Motion to Dismiss.  Texas’ Response is expected in the coming week and I will provide a review of the… Read More →