Friday, September 27, 2013
Here is something you won't hear from our city attorneys....but it is from the pen of Timothy Riley, a UNT-grad, former JAG, and now attorney for the oil and gas industry: …As evidenced above, nearly a hundred years of Texas common law jurisprudence supports municipal authority to regulate oil and gas activities to avoid exposing communities to potentially dangerous nuisances. Although the Texas Supreme Court has not directly ruled on this issue, there is more than sufficient lower court authority to assert that such regulations constitute a well-rooted background principle of state nuisance law. As such, a municipality should be able to defend against even a categorical takings challenge if the oil and gas ordinance was promulgated to address serious and injurious risks to the community. These risks can include public safety, environmental protection (like protecting water quality), and potentially even concerns related to nonconformity with existing zoning or comprehensive-plan ordinances.