August 1, 2014 Weekly Round Up

This week I made the journey to Menard, TX for the “All About Water” program where I spoke about Texas water law.  It was an absolutely group in attendance and I thoroughly enjoyed their questions and participation.  Thanks to Lisa Brown for the invitation to attend.  To those of you visiting form that program, welcome!

Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.

*New Mexico Slaughterhouse Withdraws Permit.  Valley Meats Co. has withdrawn its permit application with the New Mexico Environment Department for a waste water lagoon necessary for horse slaughter operations.  According to various news sources, the withdrawal stated that Valley Meat will no longer continue with its horse slaughter plans.  Currently, no horse slaughter plants exist in the United States as Congress prohibited federal funding for inspections of such plants in the 2014 appropriations bill.  [Read article here.]

* Colorado Judge Strikes Fracking Ban.  A Colorado trial court judge has stricken the fracking ban enacted by the city of Longmont.  The judge found that the local law–which prohibited fracking within city limits–clearly conflicted with the state’s regulations regarding the production of oil and gas.  The law, passed in 2012, was challenged by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and Top Operating Company.  At least one plaintiff has indicated that they will appeal the ruling, although no official statement has been issued by the City of Longmont.  [Read article here.]

*Public Meetings Held on Proposed Water Reporting Rule in Panhandle.  The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District is holding public meetings on a proposed rule change that would require farmers to track water use.  The proposed rule would require farmers to either install meters or track water use in other ways.  Additionally, production would be limited to 18 inches per acre per year for most wells.  [Read article here.]

sorghum jennifer

* Mexico’s Water Deficit Grows.  According to Texas Water Development Board Chairman, Carlos Rubenstein, the Mexico water deficit pursuant to the 1944 Rio Grande treaty has grown to 355,650 acre-feet as of July 19, 2014.  We previously discussed this treaty and deficit in this blog.

* Why Keeping Heirs in the Dark is a Bad Idea.  When I do estate and succession planning presentations, I advocate for having family meetings and communication throughout the estate planning process, rather than keeping everything secret until the death occurs.  This week, Financial Advisor published an article outlining reasons why such communication is a good idea, namely it decreases disagreement within the family.  Additionally, the study found that 72% of people reported that they would handle estate matters differently than their parents did by keeping their will updated, disclosing whereabouts of financial accounts, taking steps to minimize taxes, proactively discussing plans with heirs, and planning head for aging or mental capacity issues.  [Read article here.]

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