In Texas, water is on everyone’s minds. Between a raging drought, an expanding oil and gas industry, and a whirring media machine, Texans find themselves in great conflict on how to maintain a tradition and a booming industry while conserving the very resource that allows their presence in the first place: water. Water has become an important part of oil and gas exploration, and this fact has kept it well within the reach of those who lease the mineral interests. Texas law promotes such exploration by granting these lessees the rights to the reasonable use of the land’s subsurface water so that they may be able to pursue their mineral interests.
The limitations to this right loom large, however, as this right may begin to appear, in the minds of legislators, landowners, and the public-at-large, as not so reasonable. Existing Texas common-law limitations to this implied right may provide the door through which public interests slip into the traditional analyses and allow the interests of the landowner, the public, and the oil and gas industry to be served.
This Comment suggests that changes in common law, regulations, and social and environmental trends portend broader interpretations of the limitations to Texas’s implied right of reasonable use of the surface. Specifically, this Comment suggests that the analysis provided by one limitation, the Accommodation Doctrine, may be the path by which Texas courts find that the oil and gas industry should accommodate public interests as well as specific surface-owner interests when pursuing their mineral rights.
Andrew D. Lewis,
The Ever-Protruding Stick in the Bundle: The Accommodation of Groundwater Rights in Texas Oil and Gas,
Tex. A&M L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.tamu.edu/lawreview/vol2/iss1/5