Russell Johnson has a multifaceted water law practice, with an emphasis on matters involving land use, water rights and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). His clients are generally landowners, industries, mineral owners and developers seeking to acquire, safeguard, develop or convey water resources. Russ advocates on their behalf before the courts, the Texas Legislature and administrative agencies.
Navigating the rules and regulations imposed on landowners by governmental agencies can be a major challenge. Because Russ holds a B.A. in biology and chemistry, in addition to his law degree, he fully understands the technical and scientific complexities his clients face and can help them work more effectively towards achieving their goals.
Over the years, Russ has participated extensively in legislation related to groundwater management. Prior to joining the firm, he represented a large municipal water system in a variety of matters, including legislative efforts to create the Edwards Aquifer Authority, modernize Texas water law with Senate Bill 1 (1997) and Senate Bill 2 (2001) and subsequent legislation related to groundwater management. He continues these efforts at each legislative session.
He is a Board Member of the Center for Water Law and Policy at Texas Tech University School of Law, as well as an adjunct professor at Texas State University teaching water policy.
Russ’ comprehensive water law experience centers around preserving and protecting property rights and ownership. Russ has defended landowners’ property rights in matters before groundwater districts and in court, including the Supreme Court of Texas. In addition, Russ has represented clients in numerous transactions involving water, and defended clients’ water use and rights against regulatory impact. He also advises and represents clients on the use and disposal of water in oil and gas hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations.
His general water law experience has included:
Russ’ experience in environmental matters is focused on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). His work has included:
Oil and gas clients often need assistance concerning the use and disposal of water in connection with fracking. Russ’ expertise and advice has proven invaluable for clients concerning exemptions from and compliance with the regulation of groundwater usage, involving various groundwater districts in the Eagle Ford Shale area.
Russ has also represented an oil and gas operator in water-use disputes in the Barnett Shale, as well as issues with drilling ordinances adopted by various municipalities.