A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE


JUDICIAL: Includes international trade, water law, and CAFO issues.

AN GIANG FISHERIES IMPORT AND EXPORT JOINT STOCK COMPANY ET AL., Plaintiffs and Consolidated Plaintiffs, And ANVIFISH JOINT STOCK COMPANY ET AL., Plaintiff-Intervenors and Consolidated Plaintiff-Intervenors, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant, and CATFISH FARMERS OF AMERICA ET AL., Defendant-Intervenors and Consolidated Defendant-Intervenors, Consol. Court No. 15-00044, 2018 WL 587884 (Ct. Intl. Trade January 19, 2018) involved an administrative review of an antidumping duty order on frozen fish fillets from Vietnam. Plaintiff asked court to further explain or reconsider Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) “surrogate value data selection for fish feed and Commerce’s decision not to grant Can Tho Import-Export Joint Stock Company (CASEAMEX) separate rate status.” Here, Commerce further explained its determination to value respondents’ fish feed using prices contained in an affidavit from an official with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries. Commerce also expounded on its decision to deny CASEAMEX separate rate status. Court sustained Commerce’s decision to value fish feed using the affidavit data and to deny the company’s separate rate status.

In SANTA BARBARA CHANNELKEEPER, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. CITY OF SAN BUENAVENTURA, Defendant and Appellant, A146573, 2018 WL 618674 (Cal. Ct. App. January 30, 2018), plaintiff sued City claiming City’s current water diversions from a river watershed “are ‘unreasonable’ because of the effect they have on steelhead trout during summer months, when water levels are low.” City cross-complained against other parties drawing water from the watershed, alleging that their water use is “unreasonable.” Trial court struck down City’s cross-complaint and City claimed abuse of discretion. Appellate court observed there “is no property right in an unreasonable use” of water. Issue on appeal was to determine whether “the environmental consequences of the City’s water diversion act to cap the City’s water rights at a level below its current usage.” Appellate court reversed trial court, concluding that the water “the Cross-Complaint seeks to prevent Cross-Defendants from using is effectively the same water that [plaintiff] asserts the City must leave in the river for the fish.”

In The HUMANE SOCIETY OF the UNITED STATES and Sound Rivers, Inc., Plaintiffs, v. The HANOR COMPANY OF WISCONSIN, LLC, Defendant, NO. 4:15–CV–109–FL, 2018 WL 619586 (E.D.N.C. January 30, 2018), plaintiffs sued under the “citizen suit provision” of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1985 (EPCRA). Plaintiffs claimed defendant violated EPCRA at its concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) by not complying with “emergency release notification requirements of EPCRA for past and ongoing releases of ammonia into the environment.” Defendant moved to dismiss and argued that “no EPCRA citizen suit ‘may be commenced’ if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has commenced and is diligently pursuing an administrative order or civil action to enforce the requirement concerned.” Court agreed with defendant and noted that “[b]y its plain terms, EPCRA does not provide authority for a citizen suit for failure to submit an initial emergency notice ‘immediately after the release.’” Summary judgment granted in part for defendant.


LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 984: Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017. Signed by President.

S. 2350: A bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a forest incentives program to keep forests intact and sequester carbon on private forest land of the United States. Text is now available.

H.R. 4892: To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 with respect to nutrient and soil health management and source water protection. Text is now available.

S. 2363: A bill to establish the Creating American Investment, Redevelopment, and Opportunity Task Force. Referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

H.R. 4904: To direct the Secretary of Agriculture to allow producers to file a one-time program contract for certain programs. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.

S. 2364: A bill to amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 to provide to State infrastructure financing authorities additional opportunities to receive loans under that Act to support drinking water and clean water. Referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works which will consider it before sending it to the Senate floor for consideration.

S. 2354: A bill to provide for the administration of certain national monuments, to establish a National Monument Enhancement Fund, and to establish certain wilderness areas in the States of New Mexico and Nevada. Referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

H.R. 4910: To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide outer burial receptacles for remains buried in National Parks. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.


REGULATORY: Includes USDA, APHIS, CCC, EPA, FWS, FSIS, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT:

Notice USDA submitted information collection requirement(s) to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Title: Accounting Requirements for RUS Electric and Telecommunications Borrowers. Details here.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE:

Notice APHIS requests a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the voluntary Trichinae Certification Program. Info here.

COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION:

Notice CCC has withdrawn support for the Farm-to-Fleet BPI Program and is cancelling funding for the BPI payments to companies that are refining biofuel in the United States from certain domestically grown feedstocks converted to drop-in biofuel for delivery to supply biofuels to the Navy. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions, which Illinois submitted to EPA on March 2, 2016, and supplemented on August 8, 2016 and May 4, 2017, for attaining the 2010 1-hour sulfur dioxide (SO<INF>2</INF>) primary national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for the Lemont and Pekin areas. Info here.

Rule EPA is approving elements of a state implementation plan (SIP) submission from Indiana regarding the infrastructure requirements of section 110 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the 2012 fine particulate matter (PM<INF>2.5</INF>) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Details here.

Rule EPA is taking final action to re-approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Montana. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by Colorado on May 16, 2017. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve portions of the Louisiana State Implementation Plan (SIP) submittal and a technical supplement addressing the CAA requirement that SIPs address the potential for interstate transport of air pollution to significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2012 fine particulate matter (PM<INF>2.5</INF>) National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to notify the public that it has received a negative declaration for commercial and industrial solid waste incineration (CISWI) units within the State of Maryland. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE:

Rule FWS is proposing migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2018 season. info here.

Notice FWS proposes a new information collection. Details here.

Notice FWS announces the receipt and availability of a proposed habitat conservation plan and environmental assessment related to an application for a permit associated with relocation of a 1.3-mile segment of Dude Ranch Road (project) located in Polk County, Florida. Details here.

FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE: Rule FSIS is proposing to amend the Federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments that has been demonstrated to provide public health protection at least equivalent to the existing inspection system. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is implementing regulations to open a 2018 February recreational season in the Federal black sea bass fishery. Details here.

Notice the SEDAR 58 Cobia Stock Identification Data Scoping webinar originally scheduled for January 22, 2018 had to be rescheduled due to the Federal government shutdown. Info here.