Category Archives: Drones

2023 Ag Law Year in Review – Texas

Last week, we discussed what a busy year it had been nationally for agricultural law.  To learn more, read here or listen here. This week, we are shifting our focus closer to home and looking at the biggest agricultural law issues in Texas this year. Ownership of Produced Water  The question of who owns produced water in Texas is extremely important and will have major implications for landowners and oil and gas operators across the state.  At issue is ownership of “produced water,” the water that comes out… Read More →

US Court of Appeals Upholds Texas Drone Privacy Law

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently issued an opinion in National Press Photographers Association v. McCraw, a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Texas’ drone privacy law.  [Read Opinion here.] Statutory Background In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Privacy Act, Chapter 423 of the Texas Government Code (“Chapter 423”).  The purpose of this statute was to regulate the use of drones in Texas airspace.  [To read full summary of the law, click here.]  Essentially, Chapter 423 can be divided into two sections:  the Surveillance… Read More →

November 3, 2023 Weekly Round Up

Time continues to fly as we have reached the last 60 days of the year!  There has been no shortage of agricultural law news around the country the past couple of weeks. *Texas Drone Law Upheld by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has reversed a lower court decision striking down the Texas Privacy Act, a law related to privacy and drone usage.  You may recall from this blog post, a federal district court sided with journalists… Read More →

2022 Ag Law Year in Review – Texas

Each year, I am surprised by the number of agricultural law developments across Texas. This year is no exception, and I believe it may be the biggest year for agricultural law that I can remember in the Lone Star state.  If you missed our review of the biggest ag law stories on the national level, click here.   High Speed Rail Has Eminent Domain Authority The Texas Supreme Court issued a divided opinion in Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure holding that Texas Central Railroad has the power… Read More →

June 24, 2022 Weekly Round Up

We’re back with another agricultural law weekly round up.  Here are some of the stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *October will be big for ag law at the US Supreme Court.  The United States Supreme Court will have their hands full of ag law in October.  The Court will hear arguments in Sackett v. U.S., a case questioning the proper scope of “waters of the United States” as applied to wetlands under the Clean Water Act on October 3.  A week later on October… Read More →

Federal Court Strikes Down Texas Drone Law

A Texas federal judge has stricken down the vast majority of a Texas drone law as unconstitutional.  [Read Order here.] Background The “Use of Unmanned Aircraft” statute was passed in 2013.  To read a prior blog post reviewing the statute in detail, click here.  This lawsuit breaks the challenged provisions into two categories: Surveillance Provisions and No-Fly Provisions. The Surveillance Provisions (Texas Government Code Sections 423.002, .003, .004, and .005) impose criminal and civil penalties for anyone using a drone to capture an image of an individual or… Read More →

May 15, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the ag law front.  Here are some of the cases in the news. *Appellate court finds Texas Central Railroad is a “railroad company” and an “interurban electric railway.”  One of the main legal battles over the proposed high speed rail project in Central Texas has been whether the builder, Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. qualifies as a “railroad company” or an “interurban electric railway.”  If so, the company would likely be entitled to use eminent domain to… Read More →

Lawsuit Challenges Texas Drone Law

A lawsuit recently filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas challenges the constitutionality of the Texas “Use of Unmanned Aircraft” statute. Background This background section will focus on those areas relevant to the lawsuit and will not provide a complete summary of the statute. [Read full statute here and read prior blog post here for a more detailed summary of the statute.] Back in 2013, the Texas Legislature passed the “Use of Unmanned Aircraft” statute.  This legislation sought to address various issues… Read More →

August 24, 2018 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  This week I traveled to Paducah on Tuesday to present on hunting leases at the Cottle County Wildlife Conference.  Welcome to those of you joining from that meeting. Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. * 2015 WOTUS rule now in effect in 26 states, including Texas.  The legal wrangling over the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 WOTUS rule continues.  As you may recall, the EPA previously suspended the implementation of the rule until 2020, giving the agency time to promulgate and publish… Read More →

Overview of Amendments to Use of Unmanned Aircraft Statute

The 85th Legislative Session brought an amendment to the law related to use of unmanned aircraft in Texas.  Importantly for agriculture, the amendment adds confined animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”) to the list of “critical infrastructure” facilities to which additional flight limitations apply for many drone operators.  The amendment will go into effect on September 1, 2017. This post will review, in detail, the current Use of Unmanned Aircraft statute and discuss the most recent amendment.  For those of you not concerned with the specific details, the “Take Away… Read More →