Copyright (c) 2003 Houston Law Review
Houston Law Review
COMMENT: A JOURNEY THROUGH MINERAL ESTATE DOMINANCE, THE ACCOMMODATION DOCTRINE, AND BEYOND: WHY TEXAS IS READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP WITH A SURFACE DAMAGE ACT*
* This paper was selected as the recipient of the 2002 Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP award for the most outstanding paper in the area of environmental law written for the Houston Law Review
40 Hous. L. Rev. 461
Andrew M. Miller
Traditionally, oil and gas exploration and development have comprised a crucial element of Texas's economic and industrial well-being. 1 From its historic emergence at Spindletop 2 to its current contribution of almost $ 63 billion annually into Texas's more than $ 744 billion economy, the energy industry has been a driving force in developing Texas's economic strength. 3 However, the state's viability is not solely dependent on the exploration and development of oil and gas. 4 In fact, the size of the oil and gas industry in the state's economy has declined from 8.8% in 1986 to 5.2% in 2000. 5
As much as the State of Texas relies on the development of its minerals for its economic well-being, it has been equally dependent on its agriculture. 6 Texas ranks second nationally in agricultural production. 7 In total, the agricultural industry contributes $ 18 billion annually to the state's economy and is responsible for generating $ 80 billion per year in other sectors of the economy. 8 Additionally, Texas is the nation's leading producer of cotton, cattle, sheep, goats, wool, mohair, and hay. 9 The agricultural industry's effect on employment in the state is evidenced by the fact that the industry employs one in every five working Texans in some capacity. 10 Moreover, in 1999 alone, Texas agriculture generated $ 2.5 billion in exports and created almost forty thousand jobs. 11
In response to the impact that the agricultural industry has had on Texas's economy, Senate Bill ...
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