Recent News

Texas House Committee Releases Report - May 2024

The House Investigative Committee on the Panhandle Wildfires released their report on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 following the early April, three-day hearing in Pampa, Texas You can view the report and findings at this link.

We are working on a write up and will update this post as it is available. 

TLMA Announces 2024 Statewide Members Meeting - April 2024

On Tuesday, October 8, 2024, the Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association will return to the McNay Art Museum for our annual Statewide Members Meeting. Registration is OPEN. You can find more information - including sponsorship, exhibitor, and hotel information - on the 2024 Statewide Members Meeting webpage

The agenda will be announced this summer. 

Lt. Governor Patrick Releases Interim Charges - April 2024

Following a series of special sessions and the primary elections, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released interim charges for the 88th Legislative Session. They can be found by committee here

Speaker Phelan has not released interim charges for the House. 

Texas House Committee Hosts Hearing in Pampa - April 2024

The Investigative Committee on the Panhandle Wildfires held a three-day hearing in Pampa, Texas. Over the three days, the committee heard from a wide range of witnesses including: Landowners, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas Railroad Commission, Texas Forest Service, Public Utility Commission of Texas, and more. The witnesses discussed the causes, losses, changes that should be made to current law and other ways to prevent fires going forward. 

The committee will now develop a report to include legislative proposals that is due May 1, 2024.  

TLMA Executive Director Participates in Geothermal Policy Panel - March 2024

Jennifer Owen, Executive Director of TLMA, was invited to be a panelist representing landowner interests during the Energy Innovation Forum on geothermal energy hosted by PowerHouse Texas. Jennifer joined fellow panelists Senator Brian Birdwell, Dr. Ken Wisian, Ph.D., Major General USAF (ret), Matt Welch, Jason Sorter, and Cindy D. Taff.  

You can view the highlight reel here

The event was sponsored by Geothermal Rising. 

TLMA Files Amicus Brief in Certified Questions Case - March 2024

In 2020, TLMA filed a brief with NARO-TX and the Texas Pacific Land Trust in the Bluestone v. Randle Supreme Court case. The Court ruled in favor of the mineral owner and used many of our arguments.

In January 2024, the Carl/White Trust filed the following certified questions to the Supreme Court:

1) After Randle, can a market-value-at-the well lease containing an off lease-use-of-gas clause and free-on-lease-use clause be interpreted to allow for the deduction of gas used off lease in the post-production process?

2) If such gas can be deducted, does the deduction influence the value per unit of gas, the units of gas on which royalties must be paid, or both?

TLMA’s brief supports the Trust’s position and urges the Court to rule “yes” to the first question. “Freedom of contracts is particularly important in respect of contracts that involve property because private property ownership is a fundamental right with a long history of protection in Texas.” Words of contracts have meaning and are carefully negotiated. Our members should have certainty in the law that what they are able to negotiate should be honored.

You can view the full brief and the remaining case documents here.

New TLMA Chairman Begins Term - January 2024

Thomas H. "Tom" Daniel began his term has Chairman of the Board of Directors on January 1, 2024. He joined the TLMA Board in 2019. Most recently, Mr. Daniel served as Vice Chairman. Prior to his terms as Vice Chairman, he was a District Representative from 2010-2018. 

We are thrilled to have Mr. Daniel at the helm of the association and look forward to the growth of the association under his leadership. 

Texas 8th Court of Appeals Decides Cactus v. COG - July 2023

In late July, the 8th Court of Appeals decided the Cactus v. COG in favor of the oil and gas operator. The justices leaned on the definition of "fluid oil and gas waste" in the Texas Natural Resources code. 

One justice dissented and this case should be appealed further to the Supreme Court. This is a very important case for all landowners and will have a significant impact to many oil and gas leases int the future.  

The Oil & Gas Lawyer Blog has a great write up on this case. You can read the opinion here

The Veto Period Ends - June 2023

On June 18, 2023 - 20 days after the end of the regular legislative session, the veto period came to a close. Governor Abbott nearly missed the record number of vetoes with 76 bills being rejected. The majority of the bills were vetoed in the final days. 

Governor Perry holds the record with 83 bills vetoed in a single session. 

You can view the vetoed bills here

The 88th Texas Legislature Adjourns Sine Die...for a few hours - May 2023

The Texas Legislature ended the 140 day regular session on Monday, May 29 - with many priorities left incomplete. Governor Greg Abbott called the first of several special sessions later that evening. Each special session lasts a maximum of 30 days, but they do not have to use all 30 days if the work is complete.

The first called session includes property tax reform and border security. You can view the Governor's proclamation here and the press release here

You can continue to watch and track bills online. 

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Mineral Owner Cases - April 2023

The Texas Supreme Court issued opinions in the VanDyke v. Navigator, Devon v. Sheppard, and MRC v. Point Energy cases - all in the mineral owners favor. 

In VanDyke v. Navigator, the dispute concerned whether a 1924 deed reserving “one-half of one-eighth” of the mineral estate reserved a 1/2 interest or a 1/16 interest. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings that will lead to a final judgment. A motion for rehearing has been filed. The TLMA amicus brief urged the Court to reverse the Court of Appeals decision for the impact the decision on the presumed-grant doctrine would have on mineral title issues that have been settled for years. All case documents can be viewed here

In Devon v. Sheppard, the Sheppard’s lease contains atypical clauses regarding post production costs, but the Supreme Court found that the language negotiated must be honored. The TLMA amicus brief urged the Court to affirm the court of appeals decision, which correctly analyzed a straight-forward “Add-To” oil and gas lease royalty clause. All case documents can be found here

In Point Energy v. MRC, the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court and reversed the court of appeals decision on the force majeure issue. They remanded the other issues back to the court of appeals. TLMA did not file a brief in this case. All case documents can be found here


Governor Abbott Announces Emergency Items in State of the State - February 2023

During Governor Abbott's state of the state address, he announced the following items as emergency items. You can read his full address here

  • Cutting Property Taxes
  • Ending COVID restrictions
  • Education Freedom
  • School Safety
  • Ending Revolving Door Bail
  • Securing the Border
  • Fighting the Fentanyl Crisis

Governor Abbott Announces Emergency Items in State of the State - February 2023

During Governor Abbott's state of the state address, he announced the following items as emergency items. You can read his full address here

  • Cutting Property Taxes
  • Ending COVID restrictions
  • Education Freedom
  • School Safety
  • Ending Revolving Door Bail
  • Securing the Border
  • Fighting the Fentanyl Crisis

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeals Decision in VanDyke - February 2023

The issue in the VanDyke v. Navigator case was whether or not the presumed-grant doctrine applied and what the royalty percentage conveyed was. The court of appeals found the presumed-grant doctrine did not apply. TLMA filed a brief in support of the VanDyke's that you can read here. "Contrary to the opinion of the Eastland Court of Appeals, the presumed grant doctrine has never required a “gap” in the chain of title, nor has it ever been limited to the surface estate"

The Texas Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings that will lead to a final judgment. 

You can find all case documents here

83rd Legislative Session Begins - February 2023

On January 10, 2023 the 83rd legislature began as senators and representatives took the oath of office among family and friends. The House retained a majority. On a vote of 143-3, Representative and incumbent Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan, was reelected as Speaker. Senator Kelly Hancock was elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

One day prior, Comptroller Glenn Hegar released the Biennial Revenue Estimate. That tells the legislature, how much money they have to appropriate for the upcoming biennium. He announced a $32.7 billion surplus for the current biennium and the 83rd legislature will have a record amount of funds to appropriate. You can find out more details here.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announce Senate committee assignments in late January. You can find a full list of the assignmentshere.

On February 8, Speaker Dade Phelan announced House Committee assignments. You can view them by member or by committee.

Governor Greg Abbott will give his State of the State address on February 16 at 7 p.m. The address will be televised live. Governor Abbott will announce his priorities along with his emergency items.

March 10 is the bill filing deadline. We are working on many issues but continuing to monitor bills that are filed.

Read more about the legislative session on our dedicated webpage

Governor Abbott announces State of the State Address - February 2023

Today, Governor Abbott announced he will give the State of the State address on Thursday, February 16 at 7 p.m. The address will be televised. During the address, Governor Abbott will lay out his legislative priorities and emergency items. You can find more information, including how you can watch, at the press release linked below. 

Press Release

RRC Releases Notice to Oil and Gas Operators on Disposal Wells in the Permian Basin - February 2023

The notice released includes additional requirements for disposal wells in the Permian Basin to more closely monitor seismic activity. These new permit conditions require reporting daily injection information and other data collection. View the full notice here

Railroad Commission of Texas Releases 2022 Oil Field Clean Up Program Report

In January, the Railroad Commission of Texas released the 2022 Oil Field Clean Up Program Report. Highlighted in the report are the number of orphan wells monitored and plugged. In FY 2022, there were 1,068 wells plugged. The overall number of abandoned wells increased by almost 1,000 wells. 

Commissioner Christi Craddick Elected Chairman of Railroad Commission - December 2022

On December 13, Commissioner Christi Craddick was elected by then-Chairman Wayne Christian and Commissioner Jim Wright as Chairman of the Railroad Commission. 

Bill Filing for the 88th Legislature Begins - November 2022

On Monday, November 14, bill filing for the 88th Legislative Session began. Almost 900 bills were filed the first day. Bills can be filed until March 10, 2023 - the 60th day of legislative session. 

If you would like to view the bills filed, click here. You can also create your own account and bill tracking list on the Texas Legislature Online website

Texas Holds Statewide General Election - November 2022

After all the media coverage and money spent, the political landscape of Texas remains about the same. Texas is a solidly red state and will most likely continue to be that way – there has not been a Democrat elected to a statewide office since 1994. Republicans will maintain control of the Legislature and increased their majority in both chambers. 

Unlike the rest of the country, voter turnout lagged in Texas. This year, a little over 45% of registered voters cast a ballot in the midterm election, compared to 54% of registered voters in 2018. Although turnout dropped from the last midterm election, 2022 had the second highest voter turnout for a midterm election in the last 20 years.

Statewide Offices

Governor: Greg Abbott (R)
Lieutenant Governor: Dan Patrick (R)
House Speaker: Dade Phelan (R)
-        Won his election in HD21 and is expected to be reelected by the membership as Speaker at the beginning of the 2023 Legislative session.
Attorney General: Ken Paxton (R)
Comptroller: Glenn Hegar (R)
Texas Land Commissioner: Dawn Buckingham (R)
Agricultural Commissioner: Sid Miller (R)
Railroad Commissioner: Wayne Christian (R)

Texas Legislature

The 88th Legislative session will begin on January 10 for 140 days, ending on May 29. The balance of power in the legislature remains unchanged, and the election provided few, if any, surprises. In the Senate, the Republicans added one seat to their majority. In the House, Republicans picked up 3 seats. 

State Senate: 19 Republican — 12 Democrats

State House: 86 Republicans — 64 Democrats

TLMA Hosts 2022 Statewide Members Meeting

On Thursday, October 6, TLMA hosted the Statewide Member's Meeting at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. The first meeting since 2018 due to the pandemic was extremely successful! We are extremely grateful to our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees. The meeting wouldn't have been successful without them. 

Our speakers were Dr. Roel Lopez, Charles Hosey, J. Kyle Bass, Billy Phenix, Anson Howard and Dr. Tip Meckel. For links to their respective websites, please visit the 2022 Statewide Members Meeting page. They each shared insightful information in their areas of expertise with our members!

In addition to the above speakers, TLMA hosted the annual business meeting and elected the following individuals to the Board of Directors. 

James C. “Jimmy” BroussardJ.E. Broussard Heirs O&G, LP and Labelle Properties Ltd.
Thomas H. “Tom” DanielSix Mountain Partners, LP
E.O. “Trey” Scott, IIITrinity Mineral Management
John D. Alexander, Jr.King Ranch
Barry RobertsCoates Energy Trust
Carolyn Frost KeenanKeenan Family Interests
Kimberley K. McTeeCatherine C. Whittenburg Trusts and Turkey Track Ranch
Lorin RunnelsEIA Properties, Ltd. & Stag Holdings
James P. “Rick” Walker, Sr. - Huisache Cattle Co., Ltd.
R. Neal WilkinsEast Foundation

Texas Supreme Court Denies Motions for Rehearing – September 2022

In early September, the Texas Supreme Court denied both parties’ motions for rehearing filed in the HSC v. Hlavinka pipeline condemnation case. The opinion issued in May will stand as issued.TLMA filed an amicus brief supporting the Hlavinka’s in the original case, as well as last month in the motion for rehearing. You can view all case documents, including our briefs on the case website.

TLMA Announces Agenda for 2022 Statewide Members Meeting – September 2022

Last week, the Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association announced their speakers and agenda for the 2022 TLMA Statewide Members Meeting to be held on Thursday, October 6 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio.

We invite all interested parties to join us! You can do so by registering on our website. The meeting is open to members and nonmembers. Those not yet members will receive a one-year membership at the $75 level with their registration.

Legislative Reports Released – September 2022

The Texas Produced Water Consortium released the required legislative report after months of collaboration with interested stakeholders. The report primarily focuses on the scientific aspects of recycling the water. One significant issue for land and mineral owners not included in the report is the ownership of the water. You can view the full report here on the Consortium’s website.

The State Energy Plan Advisory Committee also released their report to the Legislature on September 1 in accordance with Section 33 of SB 3 – the bill resulting from Winter Storm Uri. You can view the full report here.  

Both bills forming these groups and requiring the reports were passed during the 87th legislative session in 2021.

Railroad Commissioners Approve Final Rules – August 2022

During the August 30 open meeting, the Railroad Commissioners finally approved the weatherization rule resulting from Senate Bill 3 from the 87th Legislative Session. This bill and rule are a result of Winter Storm Uri.

However, because of the comments to the weatherization rule, the RRC is now proposing amendments to the Critical Designation of Natural Gas Infrastructure Rule 16 TAC 3.65 that was adopted last year. The Commissioners approved posting the amendments in the September 16 Texas Register, but is available for comment now on the RRC website.

Additionally, the RRC finally approved the Class VI (carbon dioxide) underground injection rule (16 TAC 5) that was proposed earlier this summer. The rule was available for comment until August 15. RRC staff also gave an update on the preapplication process and approved filing the application for primacy from the EPA on class VI wells.

To view the rulemakings and/or comment, click the appropriate rule number on this page and to view the open meeting recording click here.

TLMA Files Brief Supporting Landowner in Condemnation Case - August 2022

This week, TLMA filed an amicus brief supporting the Hlavinka's motion for rehearing that they filed after the Supreme Court issued an opinion in the HSC v. Hlavinka condemnation case. Both parties filed motions for rehearing after the ruling in late May. 

You can read the full brief here and access all case documents, including the motions for rehearing on the Texas Supreme Court website

RRC Publishes Historical Documents - August 2022

Earlier this week, the RRC announced the publishing of millions of historical documents dating back to 1931. The completion of this project makes these documents available online and not only by coming to Austin and searching their Central Records. You can read the press release here

Comptroller Hegar Revises Certification Revenue Estimate - July 2022

Comptroller Hegar increased the Certification Revenue Estimate by nearly $15 billion, largely due to severance and other tax collections, but also impacted by inflation. 

You can view the press release containing links to additional documents here

EPA Considers Redesignating the Permian Basin a Non-Attainment Area – June 2022

In late June, the EPA announced it is considering redesignating counties within the Permian Basin as non-attainment areas according to the 2015 NAAQS standards. While a decision is not likely to come until next year, the designation would impact oil and gas production due to methane releases. The state would be required to submit a State Implementation Plan to bring the area back into attainment. Governor Abbott sent a letter to President Biden last week on the matter. 

To view the EPA information, click here

Railroad Commission Published Weatherization Rule for Comment - June 2022 

During the 2021 Legislative Session, the Legislature passed SB 2 and SB 3 following winter storm Uri. Following the enactment of those bills, the RRC published the weatherization rule for comment. The rule will be published in the July 15 Texas Register, but is available to be viewed on the RRC website now (click Chapter 3 - Oil and Gas). The comment period ends August 15, 2022 and can be completed on the RRC website.  

Texas Supreme Court Grants Landowner Win in Hlavinka - May 2022

On May 27, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion in the HSC Pipeline v. Hlavinka case. The ruling was in part for the pipeline company and in part for the landowner.

TLMA filed an amicus in this case supporting the landowner and urged “the Court to rule in favor of Hlavinka and take this opportunity to confirm that a single provision from Business Organizations Code does not create an end run around the Texas Natural Resources Code and common carrier regulations and well-established jurisprudence.”

The Court found that the pipeline company has the authority to condemn the pipeline, but most importantly for landowners, that the landowner can provide testimony regarding sales of pipeline easements across their property

You can find all case documents, including the TLMA amicus and the opinion, here.

Texas Senate Releases Interim Charges - April 2022

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released the interim charges for the 87th Legislature. Of interest to TLMA members are Natural Resources and Economic Development and Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs Committees charges. Charges of interest are included below.

Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee

  • Natural Gas Storage: Study the economic benefits of expanding the state's underground natural gas storage capacity and infrastructure. Investigate and make recommendations for additional natural gas transportation opportunities.
  • Wildfires and Prescribed Burns: Examine ways to reduce the risk of and destructive impact of wildfires. Monitor the role the Prescribed Burning Board plays in controlled burns. Recommend practices and improvements that public and private landowners may use to reduce fire risks.
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development passed by the 87th Legislature, as well as relevant agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction. Specifically, make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, or complete implementation of the following:
    • House Bill 1284, Relating to the regulation of the injection and geologic storage of carbon dioxide in this state;
    • House Bill 3973, Relating to a study on abandoned oil and gas wells in this state and the use of the oil and gas regulation and cleanup fund; and

Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs Committee

  • Water Utility Infrastructure: Evaluate the state's water infrastructure. Study and make recommendations on options to upgrade and update water infrastructure to address deferred maintenance, disasters, and water loss.
  • Water Supply: Review and make recommendations to complete specific projects identified in the 2022 State Water Plan. In light of recent changes to the global economy, consider the current regulatory process regarding innovative technology solutions to water supply needs, such as marine desalination, and make recommendations for their improvement.
  • Groundwater Management and Protection: Evaluate the status and effectiveness of the State's groundwater management process, including data used to support regional water planning and conservation goals. Report on the effectiveness of the State's groundwater protection efforts and whether statutory changes are needed to protect groundwater quality.
  • Agricultural Theft: Study the impact of cattle theft on farming and ranching operations throughout Texas and recommend cost-effective measures to mitigate loss and increase security.

A full list of House scheduled hearings can be found on the House of Representatives website.

A full list of Senate scheduled hearings can be found on the Senate website.

Texas House Releases Interim Charges - March 2022

Speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, released the 87th Legislature Interim Charges. The Energy Resources Committee's charges are: 

  1. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 87th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
    1. HB 1520, relating to extraordinary costs incurred by gas utilities relating to Winter Storm Uri and the authority to issue bonds and impose fees and assessments;
    2. HB 3648, which requires the designation of certain natural gas facilities as critical customers or critical gas suppliers during energy emergencies; and
    3. SB 3, relating to preparing for, preventing, and responding to weather emergencies and power outages. (Joint charge with Committee on State Affairs)
  2. Assess efforts made by the Railroad Commission and the Texas Energy Reliability Council to weatherize infrastructure and ensure reliability of the natural gas delivery system during times of disaster.
  3. Examine ways to increase the production of oil and gas within the state. Review state and local regulations that could directly impact the exploration or production of oil and gas and make recommendations for increasing Texas' energy independence.
  4. Explore options for expanding the state's underground natural gas storage capacity, including using excess storage capacity for carbon capture opportunities and the creation of a strategic natural gas reserve for the state.
  5. Evaluate innovative and emerging energy sources. Identify and make recommendations to address legislative or regulatory obstacles to the use, development, and deployment of viable innovative and emerging energy sources.

You can view Speaker Phelan's press release here and view the full list of charges here.

Texas Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership - February 2022


On Thursday, February 24, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline Partnership case. TLMA filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners, Hlavinka, asking the Court to confirm that one section of the Business Organizations Code does not give Texas pipelines a run around of the Texas Natural Resources Code and common carrier regulations. “In particular, TLMA takes issue with the Court of Appeals holding that “section 2.105 [of the Texas Business Organizations Code] provides an independent grant of eminent domain authority…When dealing with statutes allowing the taking of private property—a constitutional issue—stricter construction and more thorough and thoughtful examination is required than that undertaken by the Court of Appeals in its interpretation of Texas Business Organization Code Section 2.105.”


TLMA has long supported public policy, through legislation and Supreme Court decisions, that supports landowner’s rights through a fair condemnation process. 


You can view the full brief here and the oral arguments can be watched here.

Texas Comptroller Celebrates National Unclaimed Property Day - February 2022

February 1 is National Unclaimed Property Day. In Texas, unclaimed royalties because unclaimed property held by the state after 3 years. If you want to search for royalties or any other unclaimed property, visit the Texas Comptrollers website 

Visit the Comptroller's press release here

Learn more about unclaimed royalties from John McFarland here

TLMA Confirms New Chairman of the Board - January 2022

The Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association Board of Directors confirmed Mr. James C. “Jimmy” Broussard as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Broussard has been a member of TLMA since 2000 and served on the Board since 2014.

Mrs. Kimberley K. McTee, Immediate Past Chairman, remains on the Board of Directors. We are extremely grateful to Mrs. McTee for her service during the past two years. Her leadership during two years of unexpected events ensured that the Association successfully navigated those times.  

Mr. Tom Daniel and Mr. Trey Scott continue to serve as Vice-Chairman and Treasurer, respectively.

Kiefaber & Olivia Announce 2022 Energy Education Series

KO has released the 2022 Energy Education Series topics. They are listed below. You can click here to head to their events page or use the links below to register for the individual events. Each webinar is at 12 noon central time.


  • Royalty Payment Disputes | January 12 – Register
  • Unitization in Appalachia | February 16 – Register
  • Energy Litigation Update | March 9 – Register
  • Deduction of Post-production Costs Disputes | April 6 – Register
  • Litigating Energy Cases in Appalachia | May 11 – Register
  • Ranchers v. Oilmen? Surface Use Disputes | June 8 – Register
  • Midstream Disputes and Condemnation Proceedings | July 13 – Register
  • Anatomy of an NPRI Lawsuit | August 10 – Register
  • Top Leases and Production in Paying Quantities Disputes | September 7 – Register
  • Shut-Ins and Force Majeure Disputes | October 5 – Register
  • Working Interest Disputes — JOA Partners, Cotenants and Non-Ops | November 2 – Register
  • Mineral Receiverships and Interpleader Actions | November 30 – Register




  • Current Issues in Louisiana Oil and Gas Law | January 26 – Register
  • Analyzing Retained Acreage and Continuous Development Provisions | February 23 – Register
  • An In-Depth Look at the Intersection of Texas Pooling and Allocation Wells | March 23 – Register
  • It's Okay to Say No – Consents to Assign and Preferential Rights | April 20 – Register
  • Considerations in the Development of Wind and Solar Projects | May 25 – Register
  • Pooling, Communitization and Unitization of Federal Lands | June 22 – Register
  • Navigating the Bayou – Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Louisiana Oil and Gas Law | July 27 – Register
  • Compulsory Pooling in Oklahoma | August 24 – Register
  • Appalachia Title Update | September 21 – Register
  • Disappearing Interests — The Mechanics of Washout Provisions | October 19 – Register
  • Overview of Federal Leasing Issues | November 16 – Register
  • The Ethical Landman | December 14 – Register


Railroad Commission of Texas Releases 2021 Year in Review - December 2021

The Railroad Commission of Texas released their 2021 Year in Review - which includes information on the state managed well plugging program. 

You can view the document in its entirety here

Candidate Filings Begin for March 2022 Texas Primaries - November 2021

Formal filing for candidates of all political parties began on Saturday, November 13 for the March 2022 Texas Primaries. The filing deadline is December 13, 2021. 

If you would like to view the candidate list, visit the Secretary of State's Website

Texas Legislature Adjourns Sine Die for the Fourth Time - October 2021

In the early hours of October 19, the Texas Legislature adjourned the third called session sine die. Of the items originally listed and added to the call the following items were passed:

  • Redistricting - Texas House, Texas Senate, US House, and State Board of Education
  • Youth sports
  • Property Tax Reform
  • Unlawful restraint of a dog
  • Tuition Revenue Bonds for Public Institutes of Higher Education
  • Appropriating ARPA funds

The items that did not pass that were included on the call are: 

  • Prohibition Against Vaccine Mandates
  • Bail Reform
  • Election Integrity

Governor Abbott has not announced a fourth special session. 

For information on the bills passed, visit Texas Legislature Online.

TLMA Hosts 2021 Statewide Member's Meeting - October 2021

The Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association held the 2021 Statewide Member’s Meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2021 via Zoom Webinar. Thank you to everyone who attended and especially to our sponsors and speakers!

The speakers for this year’s meeting were:

Senator Dawn Buckingham
Jason Modglin – President, Texas Alliance of Energy Producers
Bill Kingman – Law offices of William B. Kingman
Jim Bradbury – James D. Bradbury PLLC
Billy Phenix – TLMA

We would greatly appreciate everyone, even if you did not attend, completing the survey


87th Texas Legislature Continues Marathon Special Sessions - October 2021

During the first called session, members of the House Democratic Caucus left for Washington, D.C. breaking quorum in the Texas House leaving the House unable to conduct business. They remained out of State for the remainder of the session.

Governor Abbott then called a second special session and included all of the first called session issues, as well as appropriating federal funds, public education strategies during COVID-19, modifying election dates for primary elections 2022, and limiting the ability to store and transport high-level radioactive materials in Texas to the call. The second special session began on Saturday, August 7, all but one item passed, and the legislature adjourned on September 2.

On September 20, the Legislature began the third called session – the one we knew was required while in the Regular legislative session. Due to the delayed release of Census data, the legislature was unable to complete the redistricting process during the Regular Legislative session. When Governor Abbott announced the third session, he also added appropriating federals funds, youth sports, vaccine mandates, and dog tethering to the call. Since the session began, Governor Abbott added property tax relief, bail reform, and voting penalties to the call. 

TLMA continues to monitor all legislation during the special sessions. 


Railroad Commission Exceeds Legislative Goal for Plugging Orphaned Wells for the Fifth-Straight Year - September 2021

The RRC announced earlier this month that they plugged 1,453 orphaned wells from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021. The goal set by the legislature was 1,400 wells. There are still 7,197 orphaned wells to be plugged.

You can read the full press release here. The full list of orphaned wells can be found here.  


TLMA Joins Landowner and Ag Associations on Letter Urging Congress to Protect Tax Policies - July 2021

In mid July, TLMA joined with many other landowner associations in a letter to urge Congress to protect tax policies that would be detrimental to land and mineral owners. A few of the proposals include changes to:

  • The stepped-up basis
  • Like-kind exchanges
  • Sec. 199A Business Income Deduction

In addition to these landowner tax proposals, Congress has also proposed eliminating the percentage depletion allowance.

Click here to view the letter with Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

Click here to view an article by Wade Caldwell, National NARO President, and TLMA member.

Click here to view Jack Fleet’s testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance. Jack is the Executive Director of NARO and TLMA member.

Shortly after signing onto the letter with Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, TLMA joined with other industries of Texas and signed onto a letter to leadership with the Texas Farm Bureau.

87th Legislature's First Called Session Begins - July 2021

On July 8, 2021, the 87th Legislature convened for the first called session. The session will last 30 days and include items listed on the call. The initial call was issued on July 7, 2021, but the Governor can add items as he sees necessary.

You can see the list of items and a link to the proclamation in the Governor's press release

Travis County District Court Rules in Allocation Well Permit - May 2021

This week, the Travis County District Court ruled in favor of the mineral owner in the Opiela v. RRC trial court case. They ruled that allocation well permits exceed the Railroad Commission's authority. 

It is expected that the RRC will appeal the ruling. 

You can read TLMA's amicus brief and the ruling for more information. 

Governor Abbott Adds Emergency Items Following Winter Storm - February 2021

Governor Abbott added emergency items for the 87th Legislature following the winter storm this week. Those items include ERCOT reform and winterization of the Texas power system.

For more detailed information on the legislative session, join TLMA today to receive our email updates. 

House Committee Assignments for the 87th Legislature Announced - February 2021

Speaker Dade Phelan announced the House Committee assignments for the 87th Legislature. You can view the assignments by committee or by member. You can find more information on committees on the House website.  Below are the committees TLMA is most likely to work with. 

Energy Resources

Chairman Craig Goldman
Vice Chairman Abel Herrero
Rep. Rafael Anchia
Rep. Tom Craddick
Rep. Drew Darby
Rep. Jake Ellzey
Rep. Charlie Geren
Rep. Tracy O. King
Rep. Ben Leman
Rep. Oscar Longoria
Rep. Ron Reynolds

Land and Resource Management

Chairman Joe Deshotel
Vice Chairman Ben Leman
Rep. Kyle Biedermann
Rep. Dustin Burrows
Rep. Tom Craddick
Rep. Ramon Romero
Rep. Jon E. Rosenthal
Rep. Shawn Thierry
District 68

Natural Resources

Chairman Tracy O. King
Vice Chairman Cody Harris
Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers
Rep. Kyle Kacal
Rep. Lyle Larson
Rep. Eddie Lucio, III
Rep. Dennis Paul
Rep. Four Price
Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos
Rep. Armando Walle
Rep. Terry M. Wilson

Governor Abbott gives State of the State Address - February 2021

Last night, Governor Abbott gave his State of the State Address to lay out his emergency items and legislative priorities. Some of his emergency items were not expected and some that were expected were not included. Bills deemed emergency items by the Governor are able to be debated on the floor of either Chamber prior to the constitutionally prohibited 60th legislative day.

Governor Abbott’s emergency items for the 87th legislature are:

  • Expansion of broadband access
  • Preventing cities from defunding police
  • Bail reform – The Damon Allen Act
  • Election integrity
  • Protection from civil liabilities for businesses that operated safely during the pandemic

Other legislative priorities include:

  • Prohibit governmental entity from shutting down religious activities
  • Protection of gun rights
  • Pro-life bills
  • Relax regulations passed during the pandemic, such as alcohol to go and telemedicine
  • Eliminate human trafficking and drug smuggling
  • Fund education at the levels passed during last session
  • Bolster civic education
  • Mental health

Some of these issues have bills already filed.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Announces Senate Committees for the 87th Legislative Session - January 2021

On Friday, January 15, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced the Senate Committee Assignments for the 87th Legislative Session. You can view all the assignments here. TLMA will most closely work with the Natural Resources and Water, Ag, & Rural Development committees. Those members are listed below and can also be found on the 87th Legislature webpage.

Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Economic Development

Chairman Brian Birdwell
Vice Chair Judith Zaffirini
Senator Carol Alvarado
Senator Kelly Hancock
Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst
Senator Bryan Hughes
Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. 
Senator Kel Seliger

Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Chairman Charles Perry
Vice Chair Drew Springer
Senator Brandon Creighton
Senator Sarah Eckhardt
Senator Roland Gutierrez
Senator Nathan Johnson
Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst
Senator Beverly Powell
Senator Larry Taylor

TLMA Board Begins Two-Year Term – January 2021

During the 2020 TLMA Statewide Members Meeting, the members elected a new Board and District Representatives that will serve the 2021-2022 calendar years. The Board began their term on January 1, 2021.

Kim McTee, Chairman
Jimmy Broussard, Chairman-Elect
Tom Daniel, Vice Chairman
Trey Scott, Treasurer
John Alexander
Barry Roberts
Carolyn Keenan
Lorin Runnels
George Tanner
Rick Walker
Neal Wilkins

*Chair-elect Jimmy Broussard will begin his term as Chairman on January 1, 2022.

The District Representatives for 2021-2022 are:

Dr. John S. Baen, Denton
Amy Stieren Smiley, San Antonio
Clay C. Cash, Lubbock
Leslie el-Effendi, Dallas

87th Texas Legislature Begins - January 2021

On Tuesday, January 12, 2021 the 87th Texas Legislature convened at noon for their 140-day legislative session. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick will preside over the Senate and Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) was elected President Pro Tempore. Representative Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) was elected the Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

In addition to passing a balanced budget, the Legislature must also pass the political district maps through a process known as "redistricting". As of today, there are 1,439 bills filed. The bill filing deadline is on the 60th day of the legislative session. Other deadlines for session will be determined through passing the rules resolutions that will be done this week. 

The regular session will adjourn on Monday, May 31, 2021. 

Comptroller Glenn Hegar Issues Biennial Revenue Estimate - January 2021

Ahead of each legislative session, the Comptroller issues the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE) that provides the legislature with the amount of funds they can appropriate through the budget process for the upcoming biennium. The Texas Legislature is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget. According to Comptroller Hegar's report, Texas will end the current biennium with a $1 billion deficit and will have $112.5 billion to spend in the 2022-2023 biennium. 

How does this impact you as a land and mineral owner? Certain portions of the budget are statutorily set on how much money they will receive. Whatever is left, is what can be appropriated to the remaining agencies. The Railroad Commission and TCEQ are two agencies that receive the "leftover" funding - especially the well plugging fund. This is why it is critical for TLMA to support the Railroad Commission in their budgeting efforts. The funds appropriated to the well plugging fund could be moved elsewhere if legislators chose to do so. 

You can ready the full 2022-2023 BRE for more specific information. 

TLMA Now Allows Corporate Members - January 2021

During the 2020 TLMA Statewide Members Meeting, the TLMA membership approved a corporate membership for entities that provide services to our members. As of January 1, 2021, TLMA is now accepting corporate members. This new class of membership receives benefits that are only offered to them.

If you or someone you know is interested and thinks they meet the qualifications, please visit or email [email protected] for more information on the benefits of a corporate membership.

Online applications will be available soon or you may send Jennifer Bremer an email to receive an application.

Jim Wright Sworn in as Commissioner of Railroad Commission of Texas - January 2021

On January 4, 2021, Jim Wright was sworn in as the newest commissioner of the Railroad Commission of Texas. He replaces Ryan Sitton and will serve a 6 year term. TLMA looks forward to working with Commissioner Wright in his new capacity!

Press release from the RRC

Fall 2020 Judicial Update - November 2020

Earlier this year, TLMA filed an amicus brief in the Strickhausen (No. 19-0567) case dealing with the ratification of a pooling clause in a lease. The Court heard oral arguments on October 28, 2020. The Supreme Court has not issued an opinion. 

In September, TLMA filed an amicus brief in the Bluestone v. Randle (No. 19-0459) case determining if "gross value received" in a lease addendum conflicts with "at the well" in a printed lease form. Oral arguments were heard on September 17, 2020. An opinion has not been issued. 

The amici can be found on the Texas Supreme Court website or at the following links - Strickhausen and Bluestone


Railroad Commission of Texas Approves Form Changes to Flaring Exception - November 2020 

Earlier this month, the Railroad Commission of Texas proposed form changes to the Application for Exception to Statewide Rule 32 to address concerns with the amount of flaring happening in Texas. These concerns were raised during the proration hearings that happened in April 2020.

The Commissioners approved the rule changes at the November 4 open meeting and the form became effective immediately. Staff is working on an online exception filing system and expect it to go live March 2021. Operators can use the previous system of filing until April 1, 2021.

The R-32 form and attachments can be viewed here

Jim Wright wins General Election to Become Next Railroad Commissioner - November 2020

Last night, Republican Jim Wright won the general election to become the next Commissioner at the Railroad Commission of Texas. Mr. Wright defeated Commissioner Ryan Sitton in the March Republican primary. We look forward to working with Commissioner-Elect Wright in the coming years! 

See below for a statement from Commissioner-Elect Wright. 


"This morning Chrysta Castaneda, the Democratic nominee for Texas Railroad Commission, called to congratulate me on my win for this important seat that will help determine the future of the oil and gas industry in Texas for decades to come.

However, this was not my win. This was a win for Texas and our future, a win for Texas jobs and Texas school children who benefit from the money produced by our energy industry.

We all understand the importance of our industry, and the importance of protecting our environment and I am excited to have the opportunity to work with sitting Commissioners Wayne Christian and Christi Craddick on these issues over the next few years.

Yesterday, Texans sent a message to the radical liberals from New York and California who pumped millions of dollars against conservatives in this race, U.S. House and Senate races and legislative races across our state: Texas is not for sale.

Texans will determine its own energy future … and that is a future that includes an all-of-the-above approach for energy led by fossil fuels and that will help us find new ways to improve our climate, our environment and our economy."


TLMA Hosts 2020 Statewide Members Meeting Virtually - October 2020

The Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association hosted the biennial Statewide Members Meeting on October 8, 2020. Attendees heard presentations on royalty auditing, solar development and leasing, bankruptcy, and water regulations. Additionally, attendees were given an update on the upcoming legislative session by Billy Phenix. 

Chairman Kim McTee conducted the Business Meeting and announced the results of the Board of Directors election, District Representatives election, and the by-law amendment since the vote was conducted by mail. All passed as presented. 

TLMA Responds to Texas House Land and Resource Management Request for Information - August 2020

In light of the ongoing social distancing requirements, the House Land & Resource Management Committee posted a request for information on their interim charges. TLMA responded to interim charge #2 pertaining to the Landowner's Bill of Rights. Our comments focused primarily on the LBoR being a small part of a much larger process and adding information to a single document is not the fix to establishing fairness in the condemnation process.

Two additions that TLMA suggested are :

  • The landowner’s right to challenge the entities authority to condemn land. The LBoR currently only speaks to the award amount.
  • Include information on what property the entity has the legal authority to condemn

You can view our full comments here.  

The House Committee on Land & Resource Management posted all comments filed. You can view the document here

RRC Hears Testimony on Flaring at Open Meeting - June 2020

At the May RRC Open Meeting on prorationing, Chairman Wayne Christian instructed the Blue Ribbon Task Force to continue meeting and bring forth recommendations to reduce flaring in Texas. The Blue Ribbon Task Force (through the Texas Methane & Flaring Coalition) released their report containing recommendations on ways to reduce flaring in Texas. The Commission staff was instructed to review the report and make recommendations for items that can be implemented by this fall and present their findings at the next Commission meeting on August 4, 2020.

The following link is the link to the press release and report by the Texas Methane & Flaring Coalition.

Below are Chairman Christian’s thoughts on the hearing.

TLMA looks forward to hearing what the RRC will propose at next months meeting. 

Court of Appeals Rules for Landowner in Brazoria County Condemnation Case - June 2020 

Last week, the First Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the landowner in Hlavinka v. HSC, finding that HSC cannot use eminent domain to acquire the land for a pipeline easement. The Hlavinkas and HSC could not reach an agreement for the easement, which led to HSC filing condemnation proceedings. The Hlavinkas argued that HSC was not a common carrier, in addition to other things. HSC won at the trial court level, but were successful at the Court of Appeals. 

You can view the full opinion from the Court of Appeals here. TLMA will continue to monitor this case in the event it is appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. 

*UPDATED* RRC of Texas Denies Motion Prorationing Oil Production in Texas, Passes Other Motions – May 2020

The Railroad Commission of Texas denied the motion by Pioneer and Parsley Energy to proration oil production in Texas. To provide other measure to assist operators, the Commission passed the following motions:

  • Waive fees and surcharges for the following forms:
    • P-17 (Application for Permit to Exception to Statewide Rules 26 and/or 27 (Commingling))
    • W-14 (Application to Dispose Oil & Gas Waste by Injection into a Porous Formation Not Productive of Oil or Gas)
    • H-1 (Application to Inject Fluid into a Reservoir Productive of Oil & Gas), H-4 (Application to Create, Operate and Maintain an Underground Hydrocarbon Storage Facility)
    • W-3C (Certification of Surface Equipment Removal for an Inactive Well) for the rest of the calendar year
  • Exception to Statewide Rule 95 (Underground Storage of Liquid or Liquefied Hydrocarbons in Salt Formations) for one year. Crude must be removed in 5 years.
  • Exceptions to Statewide Rule 8(d)(4)(h) – extension of deadline to dewater, backfill and compact authorized pits – expires in one year. Landowner consent is required.
  • Exception to Statewide Rule 13 – Alternative casing and tubing programs – expires in one year
  • Statewide Rule 14(b)(2) – Extends the current 1 year deadline to plug wells to 2 years for wells not producing from March 1, 2020 through March 2021. This exception would not limit the RRC’s authority to require an operator to plug a leaking well
  • 107(b) – Flexibility to RRC Legal enforcement section in assessing penalties for March 2020 – March 2021

There will be a more in-depth article of the impacts to land and mineral owners of the changes in our upcoming newsletter. We will continue to watch for rule changes over the coming months and then for legislative changes at the appropriate times. In addition to the article included in our current newsletter, Ryan Lammert put together this powerpoint on the temporary exceptions.

RRC Considers Prorating Texas Production - April 2020 

For the first time in 50 years, after a motion filed by Parsley Energy and Pioneer, the Railroad Commission of Texas held an open meeting on prorating production across Texas. The motion was filed in late March and a virtual meeting was held on Tuesday, April 14. TLMA filed comments addressing a few of the many issues discussed and Tom Daniel, Vice Chair, gave verbal comments during the 10 hour hearing. 

Because this was a meeting and a hearing has not been held, the Commissioners cannot take a vote. You can view all comments filed here and you can view TLMA's comments here

TLMA Asks Texas Supreme Court to Affirm 4th Court of Appeals Opinion in Strickhausen Case - March 2020

TLMA filed an amicus brief in the BPX v. Strickhausen case (No. 19-0567) relating to ratification of pooling mineral ownership interests. “The issue in this case is whether Respondent ratified Petitioner’s breach of the contractual no pooling clause by accepting royalty checks, after she explicitly objected to the unlawfully pooled unit in writing.” Strickhausen immediately objected to the pooling once she was made aware of the pooling.

Both parties have filed briefs on the merits. The Court has not decided whether to hear oral arguments in the case. You can read the TLMA amicus here and see other court documents here

RRC Approves Rule Allowing for the Multiple Assignment of Acreage – February 2020

At the February 11 Open Hearing, RRC approved rule amendments to Section 3.40 – Assignment of Acreage to Pooled Development and Proration Units. This rule will allow surface acreage to be assigned to more than one horizontal well. While TLMA is supportive of this change, we filed formal comments asking for unleased mineral owners to receive notice in addition to the operators. The rule requires unleased mineral owners to be notified if the operator does not meet the requirements for multiple assignment of acreage but is seeking an exemption. TLMA asked for this across the board. The Commission declined to make the change because Section 3.40 “addresses acreage assignment and acreage can only be assigned by an operator”.

TLMA also filed more detailed comments during the informal process. You can read the formal comments here and the informal comments here.

TLMA Celebrates 20th Anniversary - December 2019

On December 3, 1999, TLMA was incorporated in the State of Texas. What began as 54 concerned land and mineral owners has flourished into an association of nearly 1,000 members. We are so proud of the past 20 years and look forward to the next 20! Our first 20 years include:

  • 11 Legislative Sessions
  • 79 Newsletters Published
  • 254 Counties Represented by Membership
  • 3.5 Million Mineral Acres Represented by Membership
  • 1 Million Surface Acres Represented by Membership
  • Countless Emails Sent

In addition to all of the above, we hosted town hall meetings, began hosting regional meetings, filed amicus briefs, and comments on Railroad Commission rule proposals. We hope that you will join us in our advocacy efforts in the next 20 years! If you haven’t joined, we encourage you to do so today!

TLMA Files Amicus Letter in Support of Supreme Court Decision for 

In June, the Texas Supreme Court decided the Barrow-Shaver v. Carrizo farmout agreement case in favor of Carrizo, which TLMA supported with an amicus brief in November 2018. In August, Barrow-Shaver filed a motion for rehearing in the case. TLMA filed a letter of support of the Court’s decision and asked they not rehear the case. In the motion for rehearing, Barrow-Shaver relies on Dwyer v. City of Brenham, 7 S.Wl 598, 599 (Tex. 1888) and TLMA does not believe that case applies in Barrow-Shaver v. Carrizo.

You can read the letter here.

TLMA Files Amicus Brief Defending the Original Intent of the "Division Order" Statute - September 2019 

In September, TLMA filed an amicus brief in the ConocoPhillips v. Ramirez Supreme Court case. TLMA argues that the Court of Appeals correctly held that ConocoPhillips is required to pay prejudgement interest and affirmed that award of attorney's fees. 

In this case, ConocoPhillips claims to withhold payment for a title dispute as allowed by the Natural Resources Code. However, the Natural Resources Code allows for withholding only if it is a legitimate title dispute, and TLMA does not believe the dispute ConocoPhillips initially ignored in 1997 is legitimate. According to the Bill Analysis from when the division order statute was passed, the House Committee on Energy noted there was "no law specifically protecting Texas royalty owners from deliberate delay of their royalty checks." This law was passed to protect mineral owners. 

Oral arguments were held on September 17. You can read the brief here and find the case documents here.  

Texas Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Electrical Easement Case

Earlier this year, TLMA joined with the South Texans’ Property Rights Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas, Texas Forestry Association, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Poultry Federation, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., and Texas Corn Producers Association in filing a brief supporting the landowners in the overreach of using “blanket easements” in the SWEPCO v. Lynch et. Al case. The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

Oral arguments have been set for December 5, 2019. You can watch them live on the Texas Bar Association website.

You can read the brief TLMA filed for more information and find all case documents on the Texas Supreme Court website.


Texas Supreme Court rules in Barrow-Shaver v. Carrizo Farmout Agreement Case – June 2019

In November 2018, TLMA filed an amicus brief in the Barrow-Shaver v. Carrizo Supreme Court case on the consent to assign clause in a farmout agreement. TLMA agreed with Carrizo’s position because landowner’s use the consent to assign clause in their oil and gas leases to protect their land. The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals decision in favor of Carrizo. The Court stated that the language in the contract is “unambiguous” and “the contract imposed no consent obligation on Carrizo and that Carrizo’s right to withhold consent is unqualified.”

You can read TLMA’s letter to the Court here.

Also available are the opinion and dissent.

86th Legislative Session Adjourns – May 2019

On May 27, 2019, the 86th Legislature adjourned sine die – meaning until the 87th legislature begins in January 2021. However, just because session has ended, doesn’t mean the work will stop until next session. The regulatory agencies will begin rulemaking proceedings to implement the legislation that was passed, committees will begin to develop requests for interim charges, Sunset hearings will begin, and much more. Once the Lt. Governor and Speaker release their interim charges, the Committees will then begin to have hearings on those topics.

During this session, TLMA passed HB 3838 by Representative Ernest Bailes (Sponsored by Chairman Brian Birdwell) and prevented other harmful legislation from passing. For more details on the successes of our legislative efforts, see the latest newsletter.

TLMA Executive Director Testifies in Front of Senate Finance - January 2019

TLMA Executive Director, Jennifer Bremer, testified before the Senate Finance Committee in late January on the Railroad Commission of Texas' budget requests. One specific ask was for funding to plug orphan wells. The RRC received over $30 million in the current biennium and are asking for approximately the same amount. The RRC was able to plug a substantial amount of wells because they received this money up front. 

Bremer also testified in support of funds that will continue to help make technology upgrades at the RRC. Through these funds, the Commission has made more valuable information for landowners available on their website. 

If you have any questions on the testimony given, please email Jennifer directly at [email protected].

TLMA Files Comments in Proposed Surface Commingling Rule - January 2019

Earlier this month, TLMA filed comments on a rule that would change one of the exemptions for surface commingling. In addition to the exception change, the rule would create a new form and notice requirements to unidentified royalty owners. TLMA expressed it's concern that if commingling is allowed on leases that are held by the same owner at the same ownership percentage, one lease could be held by the production of another. 

TLMA did not have any objections to the change in notice requirements. 

You can read our full comments here.  

TLMA Board Approves New Officers – January 2019

On January 23 at the quarterly TLMA Board of Directors meeting, the Directors voted to approve the following slate of officers for the coming years.

Chairman Carolyn Frost Keenan, Houston

Chairman-Elect Kimberley K. McTee, San Antonio

Vice Chairman Thomas H. “Tom” Daniel, Austin

Treasurer E.O. “Trey” Scott, III, San Antonio

Pursuant to the by-law changes adopted by members at the 2018 Statewide Member’s Meeting, the Chairman and Chairman-elect terms will end January 2020 and the Vice Chairman and Treasurer terms expire January 2021.

In addition to new officers, the newly elected District Representatives began their terms. We welcome Amy Smiley and Lorin Runnels to the District Representatives and look forward to working with all of these individuals in the years to come!

TLMA joins landowner associations in electric utility easement brief – December 2018

Southwest Electric Power Company v. Lynch et al impacts utilities rights to a “blanket easement” that SWEPCO had for electric transmission and distribution lines. SWEPCO notified the landowners 65 years after the signing of the easement that they would be rebuilding the line and would like a supplemental easement. After declining the supplemental easement, SWEPCO claimed a 100 foot easement that contained a house and pond that had been there for over forty years. The respondents were then sued for breach of easement and trespass.

It has not been determined if the Court will take this case.

TLMA, South Texan’s Property Rights Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas, Texas Forestry Association, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Poultry Federation, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., and Texas Corn Producers Association all signed onto the brief.

You can read the document here.


RRC asks for comments on assignment of acreage; TLMA files comments – November 2018

Earlier this year, the RRC informally proposed a rulemaking to Rule 40 – Assignment of Acreage to Pooled Development and Proration Units. This informal rule would allow acreage at different depths to be leased separately. The rule would also require notice to be given to unleased mineral owners in addition to the operators. While the timelines don’t allow adequate time for mineral owners to request a hearing, TLMA is supportive of the notice provision.

You can read more about the rule and TLMA’s thoughts in the letter to the Commissioners.

TLMA files a brief in farmout agreement Supreme Court case – November 2018

TLMA filed a brief in support of Carrizo Oil & Gas in the Barrow-Shaver Resources v. Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. farmout agreement case. The primary issue at hand for TLMA members is the consent requirement in the agreement because similar provisions can be found in many oil and gas leases. As stated in the brief “..not all oil and gas operators exercise the same level of diligence, many land and mineral owners view restrictions on assignability as a very important issue in their oil and gas lease negotiations, especially if the lessor is also the owner of the surface estate of the leased premises…It is therefore important for the landowner to know who will be operating on its property and to have some say in the assignment of those rights and liabilities to another operator.” The Tyler Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Carrizo and TLMA is asking for the Supreme Court to affirm that decision.

Oral arguments were held December 4. You can read TLMA’s letter here.

TLMA joins NARO-TX, oil and gas attorneys in support for a motion for rehearing in drainage case – July 2018

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Texas decided the Murphy v. Adams case in favor of Murphy. Because of the potential significant impact to longstanding practices with offset wells and drainage, TLMA joined NARO-TX and a number of oil and gas attorneys in requesting a motion for rehearing.

The Supreme Court rejected the motion for rehearing, but did correct their opinion.

You can read the amicus letter and the corrected opinion and dissent for more details.

TLMA Has Significant Impact on Withdrawal of Rulemaking at Railroad Commission of Texas - June 2018

Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman Christi Craddick proposed the next rule changes as part of the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative earlier this month. The proposed rule would still require the initial well potential test, but would eliminate the annual well tests for oil wells that are reported on the Form W-10 except in the following circumstances:

  • the well is recompleted into a different regulatory field;
  • the well is reclassified from gas to oil;
  • the well is an inactive well and the operator resumes production from the well;
  • necessary to reinstate an allowable; or
  • required by Commission order, special field rule, or other Commission rule.

TLMA submitted comments and also encouraged our members to do the same. After the comment deadline, TLMA was invited to a meeting with commission staff. Our meeting was successful and the Chairman agreed to withdraw the proposal. In her comments while formally withdrawing the rule proposal at an open meeting, Chairman Craddick stated that while the purpose of the initiative is to eliminate the collection of information that is not being used by the RRC, it is clear that the public and industry use the information received from the annual well test.

Thank you to those of our members who submitted comments. They made an impact.

You can read TLMA’s comments here.

Texas Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Murphy v. Adams - June 2018

The Supreme Court issued an opinion and dissenting opinion in the Murphy v. Herbst offset well case. The case was decided 5-4 in Murphy’s favor. The opinion stated that the lease was ambiguous to the location of the offset well because it didn’t contain a “proximity requirement” and that they “do not read into the lease more stringent obligations than the parties intend.” The dissent stated that the lease required Murphy to drill an offset well “reasonably located” to protect against drainage.

As mentioned in a previous news post, TLMA’s brief asked the Court to uphold the Court of Appeals and recognize the definition of and purpose of an offset well. In its brief, TLMA asserts that an offset well, by its commonly understood definition, is meant to protect against drainage. A company cannot simply drill a well anywhere on the lease and call it an offset well; it must show evidence that the well is actually offsetting drainage by the neighboring well.

You can read the opinion here and the dissent here. The TLMA amicus brief can be viewed here.

TLMA Files Brief in Case that Would Change Post-Production Cost Deductions for Many Leases - April 2018

The Supreme Court has granted the petition for review in the Burlington v. Texas Crude case on post-production costs, which is the first case on this issue since Chesapeake v. Hyder. The Burlington v. Texas Crude case deals with the issue of post-production costs in an overriding royalty interest situation.

TLMA and NARO-TX jointly filed a brief in this case asking the Supreme Court to deny the petition and allow the decision made by the Court of Appeals to stand. The Supreme Court granted the petition. Oral arguments have not been set, but TLMA will post when the date and time are determined.

You can view the amicus brief here 

TLMA Files Brief in Case that Would Impact Shut-In Royalty Clause - August 2017

TLMA filed an amicus curiae brief in BP America v. Red Deer Resources asking the Court to grant the motion for rehearing filed by Red Deer Resources LLC. A trial jury ruled in favor of Red Deer regarding the date that the well was not “capable of producing”. The case made it all the way to the Texas Supreme Court where the Court found in favor of BP America. The Supreme Court decided June 4, the last day the well produced, was the date the shut-in clause would go into effect and the lessor is required to prove that a well is “incapable of production in paying quantities”. In its brief, TLMA asserts that the “operative date for determining a well’s capability to produce gas” is incorrect and it is “inconsistent with the intent and purpose of the shut-in royalty clause” to place that requirement on a lessor.

You can read TLMA’s brief here

Bill Protecting Open-Space Landowners Signed into Law - June 2017

Governor Abbott signed HB 3198 - a bill authored by Rep. Drew Darby and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Craig Estes. The bill protects landowners from a recent trend in a few Texas counties - the county tax appraiser carves out bits of acreage used for oil pad sites on larger agricultural parcel of land, removes the ag exemption from that carve-out, taxes the land at market value, and charges the landowner with 5 years of rollback taxes plus interest. HB 3198 provides that as long as the surrounding land continues to qualify for an open-space exemption, the well pad site does not lose its eligibility for the same.

You can find the history and text of HB 3198 here.

Texas Supreme Court Decides Contamination Case and Preserves Landowner Rights - April 2017

The Court has issued its ruling in Forest Oil v. El Rucio Land & Cattle Co. and denied the oil company's claim that the Texas Railroad Commission should have exclusive jurisdiction over oilfield contamination claims. The Court's decision preserves your rights and remedies, including filing a lawsuit for damages in a court of law. This news comes as a big relief for Texas landowners. A decision that the Railroad Commission controlled all contamination claims would have subjected landowners to first go through the lengthy process of seeking relief and remediation through the Commission, and it would have nullified carefully-negotiated surface use agreements between landowners and oil companies.

You can read the Court's decision here.

TLMA Files Brief in Case that Could Affect the Power of Offset Provisions in Mineral Owners' Leases - March 2017

TLMA filed an amicus curiae brief in Murphy Oil v.  Herbst asking the Court to uphold the Court of Appeals and recognize the definition of and purpose of an offset well. When a well drilled on a neighboring lease triggered the offset clause of the Herbsts' lease, Murphy Oil claimed that a well it drilled at the far opposite side of the property from the neighbor's well counted as the required offset well. In its brief, TLMA asserts that an offset well, by its commonly understood definition, is meant to protect against drainage. A company cannot simply drill a well anywhere on the lease and call it an offset well; it must show evidence that the well is actually offsetting drainage by the neighboring well.

You can read TLMA's brief here.

TLMA Jointly Files Brief In Support of Landowners in Oilfield Contamination Case - March 2017

TLMA recently filed an amicus curiae brief jointly with South Texans’ Property Rights Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Landowner Coalition of Texas, and Texas Forestry Association in Forest Oil v. El Rucio Land & Cattle Co. The case is critical for landowners in Texas because an unfavorable decision by the Court could strip rights and remedies from landowners faced with contamination by oil and gas companies. In an effort to avoid an expensive arbitration decision, the oil and gas company now argues before the Supreme Court that the Railroad Commission ("RRC") should have exclusive jurisdiction over all oilfield contamination claims. A court decision finding the RRC has exclusive jurisdiction would nullify carefully-negotiated surface-agreement contract terms for clean-up and remediation, forcing claims through the RRC process and subject to RRC standards for remediation with no option for necessary monetary damages.

You can read the brief filed by TLMA, et al, here.

Supreme Court of Texas Sides with Pipeline Company in Denbury Green v. Texas Rice Land Partners - January 2017

In a disappointing decision for landowners, the Supreme Court of Texas today published its decision in a case for which TLMA filed an amicus brief supporting the landowners - Denbury Green v. Texas Rice Land Partners. The Court addressed the question of whether or not Denbury Green was entitled to exercise eminent-domain authority as a common carrier when it condemned land to build a pipeline to transport its CO2 to Texas for tertiary oil recovery operations. 

This is the second time the Court has heard this case. In 2012, the Court found that Denbury did not merit common-carrier status simply by checking the common carrier box on a T-4 application from the Railroad Commission. It remanded the case back to the trial court to determine whether there was a reasonably probability that Denbury's pipeline would serve the public. The trial court granted Denbury summary judgement, but the Court of Appeals overturned the decision, focusing on Denbury's intended use for the pipeline at the time it began planning to build. Denbury appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court rejected the appellate court’s notion that it should consider Denbury’s intent at the time it began planning to construct the pipeline. Instead, the Court found Denbury’s contracts to transport CO2 entered into after the pipeline was built (and in the case of the only contract that is truly independent of Denbury, entered into after the Court issued its first Denbury opinion in 2012) evidenced a “reasonable probability” that the pipeline would serve the public. It also found that the pipeline’s route in proximity to other CO2 shippers supported a probability of future public use.

In addition, the Court stated that the court of appeals got it wrong by requiring a common-carrier pipeline serve a substantial public interest. The Supreme Court held that “evidence establishing a reasonable probability that the pipeline will, at some point after construction, serve even one customer unaffiliated with the pipeline owner is substantial enough to satisfy public use.”

You can read the Court's opinion written by Justice Green here, and you can read the amicus curiae briefs filed by TLMA here and here.