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


ANNOUNCEMENT:

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JUDICIAL: Includes renewable energy, bus orgs, and tax issues.

SILFAB SOLAR, INC., Heliene, Inc., Canadian Solar (Usa), Inc., Canadian Solar Solutions, Inc., Plaintiffs-Appellants v. UNITED STATES, United States Customs and Border Protection, United States International Trade Commission, Chairman Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, Solarworld Americas, Inc., Defendants-Appellees Suniva, Inc., Defendant, 2018-1718, 2018 WL 2992229 (Fed. Cir. June 15, 2018) involved renewable energy issues and a Presidential proclamation creating temporary import tariffs on “certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and modules containing such cells.” Canadian solar power manufacturers and importer sued Customs and Border Protection seeking declaratory judgment that the proclamation, “as applied to plaintiffs was contrary to law.” Court of International Trade denied injunction and plaintiffs appealed. Appellate court found plaintiffs “did not have substantial likelihood of success on their claim that proclamation exceeded President’s statutory authority.” Affirmed.

WILLIAM VAN HORN and JUNE LINDNER, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. R.H. VAN HORN FARMS, INC., ROBERT H. VAN HORN a/k/a ROBERT VAN HORN a/k/a R.H. VAN HORN and JOHN VAN HORN, Defendants-Appellees, No. 17-0324, 2018 WL 3060240 (Iowa Ct. App. June 20, 2018) involved a family farm corporation dispute in which each family member held shares. Plaintiffs, a pair of siblings, petitioned to declare that all the farm’s stock was voting stock. The siblings also sought to dissolve and partition the farm corporation and alleged “minority-shareholder oppression.” Appellate court refused to classify all of the farm’s stock as voting stock “[b]ecause corporate formalities dictated maintaining the distinction between voting and non-voting stock.” The court also found no “minority-shareholder oppression,” reasoning that the siblings’ “reasonable expectations have not been frustrated by the actions of the controlling shareholders.” Affirmed.

SHANE V. ROBISON AND ROBIN S. ROBISON, Petitioners v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent, Nos. 5339-15, 25120-16, T.C. Memo. 2018-88 (Tax June 19, 2018), concerned an income tax dispute after the IRS declared petitioners’ ranching activity “was not an activity engaged in for profit” and disallowed loss deductions relating to a ranch that petitioners claimed on their Schedules E. Petitioners countered they engaged in ranching activity “with an intent to realize a profit.” Issue for court was whether petitioners were engaged in a ranching activity with the objective of making a profit. Tax Court considered a wealth of evidence and found petitioners “did not materially participate in Robison Ranch and it was a passive activity.” The court further ruled petitioners’ losses “with respect to the ranching activity are subject to the passive loss limitations.”


LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 219: Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act. Passed by Congress on June 28, 2018 and goes to the President next.

H.R. 220: To authorize the expansion of an existing hydroelectric project. Passed by Congress on June 28, 2018 and goes to the President next.

S. 215: A bill to authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue an order continuing a stay of a hydroelectric license for the Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project in the State of Alaska. Passed in the Senate on June 28, 2018 and goes to the House next for consideration.

H.R. 1029: Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2017. Passed Senate with amendments by Voice Vote.

S. 490: A bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Gibson Dam. Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

S. 724: A bill to amend the Federal Power Act to modernize authorizations for necessary hydropower approvals. Passed Senate with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 2: Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. Passed in the House and the Senate, but the Senate made changes and sent it back to the House on June 28, 2018.

H.R. 5906: ARPA-E Act of 2018. Text for status Referred to Senate Committee (Jun 28, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 5907: NIMBLE Act. This bill’s text for status Referred to Senate Committee (Jun 28, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 5956: Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018. Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote.

S. 3172: A bill to amend title 54, United States Code, to establish, fund, and provide for the use of amounts in a National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service. Referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

H.R. 6272: To authorize a special resource study on the spread vectors of chronic wasting disease in Cervidae. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 6288: To require research in coastal sustainability and resilience, to ensure that the Federal Government continues to implement and advance coastal resiliency efforts. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

H.R. 6287: To provide competitive grants for the operation, security, and maintenance of certain memorials to victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 6270: To provide for a study by the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Science examining the impact of ocean acidification and other stressors in estuarine environments. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

S. 3168: A bill to amend the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 to make Reclamation Water Settlements Fund permanent. Referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA, FS, NASS, NOAA, and RUS rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is taking final action to extend the period during which certain electronic reports required by the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) may be submitted as portable document format (PDF) files using the Emissions Collection and Monitoring Plan System (ECMPS) Client Tool. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to lower the DLHS from 40 [mu]g/ft\2\ and 250 [mu]g/ft\2\ to 10 [mu]g/ ft\2\ and 100 [mu]g/ft\2\ on floors and window sills, respectively. Details here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement; notice of updated information concerning the forest service greater sage-grouse land and resource management plan amendments; correction. Info here.

Notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to request revision and extension of a currently approved information collection, the Mink Survey. Details here.

NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE:

Notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to request revision and extension of a currently approved information collection, the Cost of Pollination Survey. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is adjusting the Swordfish (SWO) General Commercial permit retention limits for the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean regions for July through December of the 2018 fishing year, unless otherwise later noticed. Info here.

Rule closes the Gulf of Maine Haddock Trimester Total Allowable Catch Area to Northeast multispecies common pool vessels fishing with trawl gear, sink gillnet gear, and longline/hook gear. Info here.

Notice NMFS announces the receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Info here.

RURAL UTILITIES SERVICE: Rule RBS found that conforming amendments for adoption for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) had not been included. This technical correction makes amendments to allow REAP to continue to use procedures and forms from the revised Guaranteed program. Info here.