Category Archives: Water Law

November 11, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Veteran’s Day, and thank you to all who have served. We’re back again with a number of developments in the agricultural law world over the past few weeks. *PRF Deadline December 1.  Don’t forget that the deadline to sign up for Pasture, Range & Forage insurance (commonly referred to as “rainfall insurance”) is coming up on December 1.  To read more about this insurance option, click here.  For a detailed discussion of PRF and the decisions a landowner must make during sign up, click here for a… Read More →

New Mexico Supreme Court: Public May Access Streams on Private Property

The New Mexico Supreme Court faced the following question in Adobe Whitewater Club of New Mexico v. New Mexico State Game Commission: Does the right to recreate and fish in public water also allow the public the right to touch the privately owned beds below those waters? Background Under the New Mexico Constitution, “the unappropriated water of every natural stream, perennial or torrential, within the state of New Mexico, is hereby declared to belong to the public.”  In 1945, the New Mexico Supreme Court held this Constitutional provision… Read More →

September 16, 2022 Weekly Round Up

I apologize for missing our last weekly round up post.  We’re back today with lots of agricultural law news from around the country. *Settlement deadline looming in Texas v. New Mexico water lawsuit.  Michael Melloy has given Texas and New Mexico until September 23 to reach a settlement in the ongoing Texas v. New Mexico water lawsuit currently pending at the US Supreme Court.  If the parties fail to meet that deadline, the case is set to go to trial, set in Cedar Rapids, IA, in January.  [Read article… Read More →

July 22, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. * Court overturns punitive damage award in case involving peach farm and dicamba drift.  The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has overturned a $60 million punitive damage award in a case involving dicamba drift damage to a Missouri peach farm.  The court affirmed the remainder of the case, but has ordered a new trial on the sole issue of punitive damages.  I’ll have a blog post… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Courts, Not TCEQ, Determine Water Rights Ownership in Texas

The Texas Supreme Court issued its decision in Pape Partners, Ltd. v. DRR Family Properties, and in doing so, answered the question of whether it is the courts or the TCEQ that has jurisdiction over water rights ownership disputes in Texas.  [Read Opinion here.] Background Lola Robinson owned two pieces of property in McLennan County, the farm and an adjacent 250-acre tract of land.  In 1986, she obtained two water rights permits from the TCEQ to irrigate from the Brazos River for one of the farms.  The permits did… Read More →

Turtles All the Way Down: A Clearer Understanding of the Scope of Waters of the United States Based on the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

I am excited to announce that Jesse Richardson, Gatlin Squires, and I recently had a law review article published in the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review. [Click here.] Our article, Turtles All the Way Down: A Clearer Understanding of the Scope of Waters of the United States Based on the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, takes a deep dive into the history surrounding the “waters of the United States” definition, charting approaches from regulations to Supreme Court cases to the recent Obama and Trump Rules.  It was… Read More →

April 1, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy April! We’ve got lots of happenings in the agricultural law world today. *US Supreme Court will hear case challenging constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12. The United States Supreme Court has granted the Petition for Certiorari in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, a case challenging the animal confinement provisions and corresponding product sales limitations imposed on pork producers. Lower courts dismissed the challenge brought by the National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation claiming that the law runs afoul of the Constitution. [Read article here.]… Read More →

March 18, 2022 Weekly Round Up

It has a been a wild couple of weeks around here with seven presentations since the last Weekly Round Up.  Like my schedule, it’s been a busy couple of weeks in the ag law realm as well. * Parties continue settlement discussions in Texas v. New Mexico.  As noted last week, the Special Master overseeing the litigation in Texas v. New Mexico postponed the trial date and gave the parties until March 1 to report back on settlement negotiations.  The parties have asked for additional time to continue ongoing negotiations and will… Read More →

March 4, 2022 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  There have been a number of agricultural law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Texas Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership.  The Texas Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in an important eminent domain case analyzing what a pipeline must show in order to claim common carrier status and the ability of a landowner to testify regarding other pipeline easement values.  To read my summary of the court of appeals’ decision being reviewed by the Supreme Court, click… Read More →

Who Determines Ownership of Water Rights in Texas?

The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on March 24, 2022 in Pape Partners, Ltd. v. DRR Family Properties LP, a case posing the question of who determines ownership of water rights in Texas, the courts or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality? Background In 2014, the Papes purchased farmland. As part of the purchase, sellers conveyed surface water rights to the Papes.  The Certificates of Adjudication for the surface water rights was originally in 1986 as part of a judgment in a lawsuit under the Texas Water… Read More →