September 20, 2013 Weekly Round Up

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.**

Here are a couple of ag law stories making the news this week.

Texas water law has been in the national news.   The New York Times ran an article last week discussing Texas water law in light of the Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Bragg decision.  [Read article here.]  If you missed the summary of the Bragg decision previously on this blog, click here.

Water flow to Matagorda Bay may be curtailed.  On Wednesday, the Lower Colorado River Authority voted 9-6 to seek permission from the TCEQ to curtail releases of water into two reservoirs to Matagorda Bay.  The reason for this request is the low water levels in Lake Travis and Lake Buchannan.  Specifically, the LCRA seeks permission to forego the release of water for 120 days or until enough rain falls to replenish the lakes.  Supporters of the request argue that due to the low lake levels and drought conditions, the water is needed to provide hydroelectric power, drinking water, and irrigation water to Texas residents.  Opponents argue that the release of water is necessary to maintain the health of the Bay and animals living there.  [Read article here.]

* California Legislature passes fracking bill.  Last week, SB4 passed the California Legislature and is now headed to the Governor’s desk.  The bill requires a government study to be done by January 2015 to evaluate the risks associated with fracking.  Additionally, the bill requires operators to post the chemicals used in fracking on a new state website.  Further, companies would be forced to notify landowners and cities before fracking began, and to allow landowners to have their water wells tested before and after fracking occurs.  Many environmentalists were unhappy with the bill, claiming that a complete moratorium on fracking should be issued in California.  [Read article here.]

*  French court awards damages for pig squeals.  A court in Lons-le-Saunier, France ruled against a hog farm last week in a case filed by a former employee.  The former employee claimed that he went deaf due to the incessant squeals of the 4,000 hogs that he was in charge of feeding during the 7.5 years he worked for the farm.  The court found it to be “inexcusable error” for the farm to have failed to protect its employee.  The amount of damages that the former employee will receive will be determined after he has been examined by a doctor.

momma with babies

*  A reminder to review your farm insurance coverage.  Farm Futures ran a blog post this week outlining the importance of reviewing your farm insurance coverage when you have expanded, updated equipment, or grown your operation.  According to the blog, farms that have grown in the past couple of years are at a greater risk of being underinsured because sometimes updating coverage slips through the cracks.  [Read article here.]


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