Feb. 24, 2012
“Today’s Texas Supreme Court ruling in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day is a historic victory for the private property rights of Texas landowners. While acknowledging that private groundwater rights are fully compatible with regulation of groundwater, the Supreme Court explained that under law, landowners own groundwater just as they own the oil and gas below the surface of their property.”
“This landmark ruling significantly resolves longstanding questions about the scope of landowners’ groundwater rights, the rule of capture, regulatory authority, and the Texas Constitution’s protection of private property rights.
“Importantly, the Supreme Court notes that the financial burden of upholding the landowners’ constitutionally protected ownership of groundwater is no excuse for denial of those rights recognized through more than a century of Texas law. The Court’s decision clarifies and extends the meaning of legislation passed by the Texas Legislature last year to re-affirm landowners’ groundwater rights.”
Kathleen Hartnett White is director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. She was commissioner and chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2007.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.
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