ABA Blawg 100 Nominations

Texas Agriculture Law

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

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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

AQHA Presentation

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

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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 →

5th Circuit Rules for TCEQ in Whooping Crane Case

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The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision last week in Aransas Project v. Shaw, an important case involving claims that the TCEQ’s issuance of water rights permits violated the Endangered Species Act. Background In 2008 and 2009, 23 whooping cranes, which are considered endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act, allegedly died in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  This information was based on a survey by biologists.  Only four carcasses were actually located. In 2010, The Aransas Project, and environmental group filed suit claiming that the birds’ deaths… Read More →

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 →