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Texas Supreme Court rules in favor of groundwater rights
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) applauded the opinion of the Texas Supreme Court in the Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Burrell Day and Joel McDaniel case regarding whether or not landowners own the groundwater below their land in a Feb. 24 cattle raisers press release.
“The Texas Supreme Court has affirmed that landowners own the groundwater in place below their land and that it is subject to constitutional protection as a property right,” said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
“This opinion is a victory for Texas landowners and will be important for generations to come. It also recognizes the important legislation, SB 332, that was passed by the Legislature in 2011,” Parker said.
In the opinion, the Texas Supreme Court states:
•“... we held long ago that oil and gas are owned in place, and we find no reason to treat groundwater differently.”
•“... last year, the Legislature amended section 36.002 [SB 332], to set out its fuller understanding of the matter. ... By ownership of groundwater as real property, the Legislature appears to mean ownership in place.”
•“Groundwater rights are property rights subject to constitutional protection, whatever difficulties may lie in determining adequate compensation for a taking.”
•“Today we have decided that landowners do have a constitutionally compensable interest in groundwater. ...”
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