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Private property rights are not optional

Private property rights are not optional

By Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director

Sometimes it seems people believe the legislature’s power is unlimited; that the legislature has no constraints on determining our state’s public policy, or the regulatory authority they can grant to state and local agencies.

However, it’s simply not true when it comes to private property rights.

Private property ownership and rights don’t come from the legislature. The courts determine if a landowner has a property right. Once that right is recognized, it is protected by the Takings Clause of both the Texas and U.S. constitutions. Both the court and the constitution provide the checks and balance to the legislature’s power.

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Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

By Mike Barnett

It looks like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to flood agriculture into submission with its revisions of the Clean Water Act.

This map, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and updated for EPA, shows locations and flow patterns of waterways in Texas.

At first glance, it looks innocent enough. Where it gets problematic is how it could be used.

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‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

By Jay Bragg

Recently, 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio were without drinking water due to dangerously high levels of cyanotoxin in Lake Erie, produced by excessive amounts of blue-green algae.  National news outlets were quick to point their fingers at agriculture, picking up on the talking points of local politicians, activist groups, and pseudo-scientists.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins was quoted by the Los Angeles Times: “Once we clear this problem up, that is not going to eliminate the algae problem in the western basin of Lake Erie; that is not going to eliminate the agricultural runoff; that is not going to eliminate mega-farming.”

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Farmers, ranchers and State of Texas win whooping crane case

Farmers, ranchers and State of Texas win whooping crane case

By Regan Beck

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a district court decision on July 30 and ruled in favor of the State of Texas in a lawsuit concerning the whooping crane.

It was the classic example of water for people weighed against an environmental group suing under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Fifth Circuit concluded the environmental group, The Aransas Project (TAP), failed to prove the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) management of water permits resulted in the deaths of whooping cranes.

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Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

By Kenneth Dierschke
TFB President

I read recently that climatologists are predicting a 70 percent chance for El Niño to develop this year in the Pacific Ocean. I hope they are wrong. What we need is a 100 percent chance.

El Niño is the warming of the central and eastern Pacific Oceans. It alters the jet stream flow across the United States and helps bring wetter-than-normal weather to Texas.

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Time to straighten out this BLM mess

Time to straighten out this BLM mess

By Gene Hall

I own your house. In fact, I have always owned it. It does not matter that you have a deed or stacks of property tax receipts. It is not relevant whether or not you paid for this house.

I also own most of the houses on your street. Your neighbors, too, might have paid mortgages and taxes, but that does not matter. Rest assured, though, I am not “expanding my holdings” on your street, but only because I have always owned it. My name is Federal Bureau of Land Management.

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