Texas Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Groundwater Rights

By tscra, on February 24th, 2012

For Immediate Release: Feb. 24, 2012
Contact: Marissa Patton, 512-469-0171

Cattle Raisers applaud opinion

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) today 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.

“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 TSCRA.

“This opinion is a victory for Texas landowners and will be important for generations to come. It also recognizes the important legislation, S.B. 332, that was passed by the Legislature in 2011,” Parker said.

“TSCRA would like to thank the Texas Supreme Court for their diligent efforts in writing this opinion,” Parker continued.

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 [S.B. 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…”


TSCRA is a 135 year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has over 15,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.

Economic News Week: February 20, 2012

Better-than-expected U.S. economic news and signs of a resolution to the Greek debt crisis propelled stocks higher this week. “Close, but no cigar” as the DOW stopped just 50 points short of making its way to the 13000 mark. It ended at 12949 on Friday-its best posting since May 2008. The NASDAQ-meanwhile closed at its highest level since December 2000 on Thursday—closing at 2952. Besides the Retail Sales report showing positive numbers once again, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 348,000 the week ending February 11, the lowest since March 2008- a sign that U.S. economic recovery may be gaining traction.

An economist on the WSJ Report (Wall Street Journal) stated that we are seeing better signs for the 3 “R’s”. Firstly, Resolve: Meaning that as long as Europe gets its own debt situation under better control-then stabilization will persist. Secondly, Resilience: Job numbers are trending better than expected. Housing Starts are looking better, and consumer spending remains to be stronger. Thirdly, Recovery: Global concerns are trending downward, but albeit slowly. Market sell-offs are showing little signs of panic attacks.

Real Estate, Mortgage Industry, and Other Local Economic News

Recent comments from Dallas Federal Reserve Bank president and CEO, Richard Fisher said that low interest rates and monetary policy set by the Fed is not enough to solve the U.S. employment crisis. I totally agree. Even though these help greatly, it is not just up to our U.S. Congress but, also our State Legislatures. Look at what our own Texas Legislature is having to focus on at the moment- “redistricting”. What a waste of taxpayer money. This is an attempt by both sides to gain traction for their own political parties to garner votes. On a national level, Congress should be working together to help Americans gain jobs. Instead all I see is both parties pointing fingers and blaming each other for current joblessness in America (which is getting better by the way). Personally, we as Americans should use our “fire” power and voting power by electing officials we truly believe have our nation’s true interest at heart. Some of those interests may vary. I believe in helping those who are less fortunate and making America stronger and better for all Americans by creating an educated society. Yes, it will take hard work on everyone’s part. We’ve all heard the slogan, “No child left behind”. How about a new one, “No American left behind”!

Helped by good early growing conditions, Hill Country peach growers are looking forward to a terrific crop of the sweet tasting fruit. However, concerns are that peaches may be maturing a little too early as we could still get a late freeze. Pray for more rain-no freezes. Everyone knows that with a wonderful peach crop, tourists from around the state will flock to the Hill Country. Another report says that bluebonnets will be better this year than previous years due to recent rains and warmer than expected weather. In any case, this should be a great year for touring and spending money in the beautiful Texas hill Country.

Finally, a report in the S. A. Express News said that there are five things economists say you can expect in 2012: 1. An improving national economy, which makes people feel better about home purchases. 2. Texas still out performing the national economy. 3. The continuation of low mortgage rates. 4. Filling out lots of paperwork for mortgage loan documentation. 5. Low inventory levels that could, set the stage for price increases.

Hope you had a great Presidents Day!

Economic Data due this week: Monday: Markets closed for Presidents Day. Wednesday: Existing Home Sales Report. Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims. Thursday: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates. Friday: New Home Sales Report.