Last week I made the journey to the Hill Country for the Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference, held in Kerrville. Many kudos to organizer, Larry Redmond, for putting together an outstanding program! To those of you new to the blog from the Conference, welcome!
Here are some ag law stories in the news this week.
*Texas Supreme Court Will Not Hear Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority. Big water law news happened today when the Texas Supreme Court denied petitions to consider an appeal in Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority. Stay tuned for Monday’s blog post that will explain what this means for groundwater in Texas.
* Study Links Wastewater Disposal Wells to Earthquakes, Texas Railroad Commission Considers Shutting Down Two Sites. A study conducted by Southern Methodist University published last week indicates that a series of earthquakes near Azle were likely caused by two oil and gas disposal wells in the area. [Read article here.] In response, the Texas Railroad Commission has set hearings to determine whether these wells should be shut in and the permits cancelled. [Read article here.]
* Bill in Congress Would Explicitly Ban Horse Slaughter. A bill in the US House of Representatives called the “Safeguard American Food Exports Act” would prevent any horse slaughter plants from operating in the United States and would ban the shipment of horses to foreign slaughter plants. [Read article here.] As you may recall from this prior blog post, currently while not expressly prohibited, domestic horse slaughter is essentially prohibited because of the federal budget prohibiting funding for required USDA inspections to be conducted.
* Overview of California Egg Case. My friend and colleague, Paul Goeringer at the University of Maryland, recently wrote a great blog summarizing what is going on with the California Egg case. As you may remember from this blog post, the case involves a challenge by numerous other poultry producing states to a California law prohibiting the sale of eggs laid by chickens living in battery cages. To read Paul’s summary, click here.
* Estate Planning Pitfalls and How To Avoid Them. Consumer Reports recently published an article outlining 6 estate planning minefields and how to avoid them that outlines several important issues to be considered. The minefields listed include thinking that you are either too young and have too few assets to need a will, putting everything into joint ownership, forgetting what a will does not do, allowing your legacy to be squandered, igniting sibling rivalry, and over complicating your estate plan. [Read article here.]