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TLMA Invited to Testify at Texas Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs - July 2016.
 
On July 25, the Senate Committeeon Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs held a hearing on issues related to groundwater in Texas. The TLMA was invited to testify on the application of oil and gas law to groundwater. You can watch the video of the hearing by clicking here. The hearing lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes, and included extensive testimony regarding the regulation of groundwater. To watch the final panel of witnesses, including TLMA Executive Director Laura Buchanan, skip to the 4:13:00 mark in the video.

The Supreme Court of Texas Issues Decision in Coyote Lake Ranch v. Lubbock -May 2016.
The Supreme Court of Texas handed down its decision in a much-watched case regarding groundwater in Texas. In a landmark holding, the Court held that, like the mineral estate, the groundwater estate in Texas is the dominant estate. This means simply that the owner of the groundwater has an implied right to use the surface to produce its water. As such, the Court also held that the Accommodation Doctrine applies to groundwater like it does to oil and gas. You can read the Court's full opinion here.
TLMA Files Comments on the Sunset Advisory Commission's review of the Railroad Commission - May 2016

TLMA filed public comments on the Sunset Advisory Commission staff's report on its review of the Railroad Commission of Texas. You can read our letter by clicking here. To see all of the public comments filed for the report, click here.

Sunset Advisory Commission Releases Report on Railroad Commission - April 2016
 
On April 29, the Sunset Advisory Commission released its staff report reviewing the Texas Railroad Commission for the 85th state legislative session in 2017. You can find links to the full staff report and an executive summary, as well as the RRC's self-evaluation report filed last September by clicking here.
 
TLMA Files Amicus Brief in Denbury Green Pipeline v. Texas Rice Land Partners - February 2016 

TLMA filed an amicus brief in support of the landowners in a dispute over Denbury's use of eminent-domain authority to construct a CO2 pipeline from Louisiana to its oil fields in East Texas. This is the second time this case has made it to the Texas Supreme Court. In 2012, the Court articulated a test for determining whether or not a pipeline operator qualifies as a common carrier, allowing it to exercise eminent domain to take easements. Last year, the Beaumont Court of Appeals correctly applied that test. Denbury filed a petition for review of the decision with the highest state court.

Click here to read the brief as filed. 


Supreme Court Denies Motion for Rehearing in Chesapeake v. Hyder - January 2016

The Texas Supreme Court denied Chesapeake's motion for rehearing, affirming its original decision that the royalty owners in the case had successfully negotiated lease-terms that prohibited post-production cost deductions, and that Chesapeake had been wrongfully withholding post-production costs from the Hyders' overriding royalties. Splitting down the same lines as the original decision, the Court voted 5-4 against rehearing. It also issued new opinions that have been substituted for the majority and dissenting opinions issued last June. 

Click here to read the majority's opinion, and click here to read the dissent.

TLMA and NARO-TX File Amicus Brief in Chesapeake v. Hyder - November 2015
 
TLMA and NARO-TX have again filed an amicus brief in Chesapeake v. Hyder, this time asking the Court to deny Chesapeake's motion for rehearing. We feel the Court got this decision right the first time, and there is no need to revisit this case.


Click here to read the brief as filed.



Chesapeake files Motion for Rehearing in Chesapeake v. Hyder - August 2015
 
Following the Texas Supreme Court's decision in favor of the landowners in Chesapeake v. Hyder, Chesapeake has filed a motion for rehearing. So far, amicus brief in support of Chesapeake's motion have been filed by The Texas Oil and Gas Association, a collective of oil and gas companies—BP America Production Co., Devon Energy Production Co., L.P., EOG Resources, Inc., EXCO Resources, Inc., Shell Western E&P, Inc., Trinity River Energy, LLC, Unit Corp., and XTO Energy Inc.— and SandRidge Exploration & Production, LLC.


Chairman Darby Asks for Input During Interim - July 2015
 
Texas House Committee on Energy Resources Chairman Drew Darby wrote to members of the Texas House. Chairman Darby reported on the committee's activity this past legislative session and asked for members' input on issues that should be addressed by the committee during the interim.
Click here to read the letter.


Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Chesapeake v. Hyder - June 2015
 
The Texas Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the Chesapeake v. Hyder case. In a 5-4 decision, the Court found in favor of the Hyders, and rejected Chesapeake's argument that, under the Heritage Resources v. NationsBank case, it was entitled to deduct postproduction costs from the overriding royalty interest regardless of provisions in the lease that disallowed cost deductions. Chief Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice Green, Justice Johnson, Justice Boyd, and Justice Devine joined. Justice Brown filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Willett, Justice Guzman and Justice Lehrmann joined.

Click here to read the majority's opinion, and click here to read the dissent.


Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Chesapeake v. Hyder - March 2015
 
In March, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in a case for which TLMA and NARO-Texas jointly filed an amicus brief authored by former Justice Raul Gonzalez and attorney John McFarland. The Hyders challenged Chesapeake's deduction of post-production costs from the overriding royalty interest because the Hyders had carefully negotiated to disallow such deduction in the terms of their lease. The district court and the 4th Court of Appeals both found in favor of the Hyders. Chesapeake appealed the rulings to the state's highest court.

Click here to read a Star-Telegram article about the case.


Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Hooks v. Samson - January 2015
 
A recent court case marks a victory for mineral owners who are the victims of fraud on the part of their mineral lessee. The Supreme Court of Texas has issued an opinion in Hooks v. Samson, a case for which TLMA filed an amicus brief.  Importantly, the Court revived Mr. Hooks' fraud claim, overturning the 1st Court of Appeals' ruling that it was barred by the statute of limitations.  The case has been remanded back to the court of appeals to consider the factual and legal sufficiency of the evidence on which the trial court's verdict in Mr. Hooks' favor was based. 

Click here to see the full court opinion.