For Immediate Release: May 24, 2011
Contact: Carmen Fenton, 512-469-0171
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Legislation to strengthen landowners’ ownership of the groundwater below their land passed the Texas House today, clearing a major hurdle. The legislation now goes back to the Texas Senate for final approval before heading to the Governor’s desk.
SB 332, by Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) and Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland), clarifies that groundwater below a landowner’s land is their real property, meaning it is subject to the same legal protections as other private property such as land.
Strengthening groundwater ownership for landowners has been a top priority for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) this legislative session, said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and TSCRA president.
“Landowners have owned the groundwater under their property for more than 100 years, but our rights have recently been challenged,” said Parker. “SB 332 puts to rest any question of who owns the groundwater below a landowner’s property.”
SB 332 clarifies that landowners own the groundwater below their land as real property. The bill entitles landowners to drill for and produce the groundwater below their land without waste. It recognizes that this private property right may be regulated, like other private property rights, to protect and conserve groundwater, and it ensures fair and impartial regulation of a landowner’s rights in groundwater.
“We appreciate the hard work of Chairman Fraser, Chairman Ritter, and the rest of the Texas Legislature. We look forward to SB 332 becoming law,” Parker continued.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 134-year-old trade organization. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 51.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.