September 11, 2015 Weekly Round Up

Here are a few of the major ag law stories in the news this week.

* Texas Supreme Court Will Consider City of Lubbock v. Coyote Lake Ranch.
Last Friday, the Texas Supreme Court granted Coyote Lake Ranch’s petition for review in this important water law case that asks whether the accommodation doctrine should be applied to groundwater.  Lower courts split on this issue, with the trial court issuing a preliminary injunction in favor of Coyote Lake Ranch, which was overruled by the Amarillo Court of Appeals, which held that the accommodation doctrine did not apply to groundwater.  Oral argument before the Texas Supreme Court is set for October 14, 2015.  [Read more about the case here.]

Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension photo by Steve Byrns

Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension photo by Steve Byrns

*WOTUS Rule Is in Effect in Texas and Other States Not Party to North Dakota Lawsuit.
As you recall from last week’s round up blog, controversy existed about whether an injunction granted in a North Dakota Federal Court related to the new WOTUS rule applied nationwide.  Late last Friday, the North Dakota Judge ruled that the injunction did not apply nationwide, but instead was limited to only those states involved in that specific litigation.  [To read order, click here.]  Those states include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.  For all other states, including Texas, the new WOTUS rule is in effect.  Remember, however, that several other pending lawsuits (including one to which Texas is a party) are pending challenging the rule.

* Texas Supreme Court Will Not Hear Case Involving Trespass of the Mineral Estate by Horizontal Drilling.  You may remember this recent blog post about Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko E&P Onshore, LLC, discussing the San Antonio Court of Appeals decision that by drilling through the mineral estate held by Anadarko, Lightning did not commit trespass.  Last Friday, the Texas Supreme Court denied Anadarko’s Petition for Review.  Thus, the Court of Appeals’ opinion stands.

* Wall Street Journal Publishes Article on EPA’s Water Woes.
The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on the “water woes” facing the Environmental Protection Agency.  The article does a great job of discussing the EPA’s contamination of the Animas River and the controversy surrounding the new WOTUS rule. [Read article here.]


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