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


ANNOUNCEMENT: 

Join us Wednesday, July 25th, at 12 noon (ET) for an Agricultural & Food Law Consortium webinar: Compliance with DOL and Immigration Laws and Regulations for Agricultural Businesses. Details available here.

REGISTER NOW for our upcoming Ag Technology & the Law conference, August 15 and 16 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Details here.


JUDICIAL: Includes drone, pesticides, environmental and water rights issues.

In ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER, Petitioner v. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, et al., Respondents, No. 16-1297, 892 F.3d 1249 (D.C. June 19, 2018), plaintiff sought review of order of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which promulgated rule “to create regulations for certain classes of nonrecreational small drone operations.” Appellate court dismissed the petition after concluding plaintiff failed to “establish concrete and particularized injury to its members,” or “organizational standing.”

IN RE: ROUNDUP PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION, This document relates to: ALL ACTIONS, MDL No. 2741, No. 16-md-02741-VC, 2018 WL 3368534 (N.D. Cal. July 10, 2018) concerned Monsanto’s motion for summary judgment re: “whether a reasonable jury could conclude that glyphosate, a commonly used herbicide, can cause Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) at exposure levels people realistically may have experienced.” Court considered the opinions of a number of experts and the “epidemiological literature” and found that the plaintiffs “presented evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that glyphosate can cause NHL at human-relevant doses.” Monsanto’s motion for summary judgment is denied.

In EARTH ISLAND INSTITUTE and SEQUOIA FORESTKEEPER, Plaintiffs, v. KEVIN ELLIOTT, in his official capacity as Forest Supervisor of the Sequoia National Forest, et al., Defendants, and SIERRA FOREST PRODUCTS, a California corporation, Defendant-Intervenor, 1:17-cv-01320-LJO-SAB, 2018 WL 3372759 (E.D. Cal. July 9, 2018), plaintiffs sued defendant in his official capacity as Forest Supervisor of the Sequoia National Forest, and the Forest Service (FS) “challenging the decision to authorize a logging operation along approximately 50.2 miles of road . . . without preparing an Environmental Assessment (“EA”) for the project.” Plaintiffs alleged violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and specifically, that the USFS “failed to explain why adverse effects on the CSO [California Spotted Owl] are insignificant.” Court observed that FS “took a hard look at the [logging operation’s] potential effects on CSO and determined that the potential effects on the species were insignificant.” The court further reasoned that FS “consider[ed] the proper factors and ma[de] a factual determination on whether the impacts are significant or not.” Summary judgment granted for defendant.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Intervenor-Plaintiff, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Petitioner, Mineral County, Intervenor-Plaintiff, And Nevada State Engineer, Respondent-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES BOARD OF WATER COMMISSIONERS, Participant-Appellee, Backtrack, LLC; Bale Counter, Inc.; Gary M. Berrington; Berrington Custom Hay Hauling & Trans., Inc.; Damian, Ltd.; Peter A. Fenili; GDA Degree, Inc.; Gary G. Garms; Gary J. Garms; Kari D. Garms; Toni Garms; Garmsland Limited, LLC; High Sierra Garlic; Jackaroo, LLC; Settelmeyer–Rosse Ranch Management, LLC; Six-N-Ranch, Inc.; Straggler, LLC, Objectors-Appellees, 893 F.3d 578 (9th Cir. June 22, 2018) involved a federal voluntary water rights leasing program managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to convey water from a river downstream to a lake as part of the federal Walker Basin Restoration Program. A group of farmers claimed their water rights were jeopardized by the program, but the Nevada State Engineer and the California State Water Resources Control Board approved NFWF’s change applications. Decree court ruled for the farmers after concluding the program would injure their water rights. Appellate court considered whether NFWF’s program would injure the farmers’ water rights. Among a host of conclusions, court held the farmers “failed to demonstrate that they had any right to the stored water that would have been injured by irrigation district’s proposed change.” Reversed and remanded.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA, FSIS, NIFA, NOAA, and RHS rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYRule EPA is proposing to approve a state implementation plan revision, submitted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to EPA on October 11, 2017, for the purpose of providing for attainment of the 2010 sulfur dioxide primary national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) in the Indiana, Pennsylvania SO<INF>2</INF> nonattainment area. Info here.

FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE: Notice FSIS is announcing its intention to renew the approved information collection regarding petitions for rulemaking. Info here.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE:

Notice NIFA will extend and revise a currently approved information collection entitled, “Reporting Requirements for State Plans of Work for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds.” Info here.

Notice NIFA is announcing the I-FAST prize competition to develop and implement the Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) Program. NIFA will partner with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) to provide entrepreneurship training to NIFA grantees under this I-FAST pilot program. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION: Notice NMFS has received a request from the Navy for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to the use of Surveillance Towed Array Sensor Systems Low Frequency Active  sonar systems onboard U.S. Navy surveillance ships for training and testing activities conducted under the authority of the Secretary of the Navy in the western and central North Pacific and eastern Indian oceans beginning August 2019. Details here.

RURAL HOUSING SERVICENotice the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 was signed into law on July 29, 2016. It created Section 502(i) in the Housing Act of 1949, later amended by Section 758 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which permits the Secretary to assess and collect a guarantee underwriting user fee from lenders for their use of RHS automated guaranteed loan systems. Details here.