It’s been a busy week! On Wednesday I spoke at the High Plains Irrigation Conference in Amarillo, and today I am in San Marcos to speak at the Texas Wine Grape Growers Association meeting. (Tough gig, I know!) To those of you joining from these meetings, welcome!
Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. As you will see, it was a busy week for supreme court water litigation between states.
* Special Master Issues Report Recommending Denial of Motion to Dismiss in TX v. NM. The Special Master has now issued a report in the Texas v. New Mexico lawsuit pending in the United States Supreme Court. The lawsuit involves a 1944 Compact agreement regarding allocation of Rio Grande water. [Read more background information here.] You may recall that the Special Master issued an initial draft of the report in July 2016, recommending that the Court deny the Motion to Dismiss filed by New Mexico. Now, the Special Master has issued his official report, making the same recommendation. If the Court approves this recommendation, the case will proceed to discovery. [Read full report here.]
* Special Master Recommends Decision for Georgia in FL v. GA. The Special Master has recommended that the Supreme Court rule in favor of Georgia in this lawsuit between states regarding allocation of water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. [Read full report here.] Essentially, Florida argues that Georgia is using too much water, creating limited river flows downstream in Florida. Florida sought a cap on Georgia’s water use. The Special Master found that Florida’s failure to join the Corps of Engineers–the entity who manages water use in the Basin–in the lawsuit and failure to present evidence that imposing a cap would cure their alleged damage, Florida’s request should be denied. This decision is not final, but will be sent to the US Supreme Court, who will consider the recommendation. [Read article here.]
* Article Discussing Potential Estate Tax Repeal. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal recently published an article about the potential repeal of the federal estate tax. Specifically, the article focuses on this and its potential impact on agriculture. [Read article here.]