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


JUDICIAL: Includes landowner liability, biosecurity, urb & ag, climate change, and CWA issues.

In DELAWARE RIVERKEEPER NETWORK, et al., Plaintiffs, v. SOIL SAFE, INC., Defendant, No. 14-1349 (RMB/KMW), 2017 WL 2829603 (D.N.J. June 30, 2017), defendant operated a soil recycling center and plaintiff alleged “enjoyment of her use of the Delaware River has diminished because she believes that Soil Safe’s operations are ongoing and create potential implications for water quality.” Court concluded plaintiffs failed to establish defendant’s product “is a solid waste or that it may present an imminent and substantial harm to the environment.” Judgment for defendant.

In The ALLIANCE TO END CHICKENS AS KAPOROS, et al., Plaintiffs–Appellants, v. The NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants–Respondents, Congregation Beis Kosov Miriam Lanynski, et al., Defendants, 2017 WL 2429221 (N.Y. App. Div. June 6, 2017), animal rights activists sued city police department and city department of health seeking writ of mandamus to force city defendants to enforce public health and animal cruelty laws concerning Orthodox Jewish practice of Kaporos. Case was dismissed and on appeal, court held that a writ of mandamus was “not available to compel city to enforce animal cruelty and public health laws,” and that Agriculture and Markets Law provision “requiring police officers to . . . arrest any person violating provisions regarding animals did not provide basis for court to issue writ of mandamus requiring police to enforce such law.” Lower court dismissal affirmed.

Larry KAPLOWITZ and Karin Marcus, Respondents, v. LANE COUNTY, Respondent, and Charles Wiper, III, Petitioner. Charles Wiper, III, Petitioner, v. Lane County, Respondent, and Larry Kaplowitz and Karin Marcus, Respondents, A163509, 285 Or.App. 764 (Or. Ct. App. June 1, 2017) concerned a land use case and whether the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) properly deferred to the County’s interpretation of the meaning of “accessory use and development” as used in the county’s forestland zoning regulation. Petitioner argued the county’s interpretation “is inconsistent with the purpose of the applicable forestland zoning provision and the state statutes and rules that regulate the content of that zoning regulation, and that, therefore, LUBA erred in deferring to the county’s construction of the regulation.” Court considered whether the LUBA order was “unlawful in substance,” and affirmed ruling that LUBA properly deferred to the county’s interpretation of its regulation.

In ERIE INSURANCE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY COMPANY, a corporation, and Stephen Myers, Defendants Below, Petitioners v. Dimitri CHABER and Mary Chaber, Plaintiffs Below, Respondents, No. 16-0490, 2017 WL 2415333 (W. Va. June 1, 2017), insured party brought action against commercial property insurer for coverage for loss caused by soil and rock sliding down hill. Circuit court ruled for insureds and insurance company appealed. On appeal, court held that “earth movement exclusion barred coverage,” and that the policy’s ensuing loss provision “provided coverage only for glass breakage, not the entire loss.” Reversed and remanded.

In COASTAL ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CALIFORNIA REGIONAL WATER QUALITY CONTROL BOARD, Defendant and Respondent, D070171, 12 Cal.App.5th 178 (S.D. Cal. May 8, 2017), an environmental group appealed after being denied a writ challenging a water board’s approval of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for public displays of fireworks over the areas’s surface waters. Appellate court concluded the use of “visual monitoring to assess compliance” complied with the Clean Water Act requirements and that a “general permit did not violate California Ocean Plan’s prohibition of waste discharges to areas of special biological significance.” Affirmed.


REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, EPA, FWS, FS, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE:

Rule USDA is adopting an interim rule that implemented a recommendation from the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2017 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.22 to $0.10 per 50-pound bag or equivalent of sweet onions handled. Details here.

Rule amends the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances within the USDA’s organic regulations, to prohibit the use of 8 substances in organic production and handling after June 27, 2017: Lignin sulfonate; furosemide; magnesium carbonate; and the nonorganic forms of chia, dillweed oil, frozen galangal, frozen lemongrass, and chipotle chile peppers. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: National Veterinary Accreditation Program Application Form. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule that in the Federal Register of May 24, 2017, EPA published both a direct final rule and proposed rule to extend the compliance dates and California Air Resource Board Third Party Certifier transitional period originally published in the Toxics Substances Control Act Title VI formaldehyde emission standards for composite wood products final rule on December 12, 2016. Details here.

Rule EPA Region 1 is publishing a direct final Notice of Deletion of the Shpack Landfill Superfund Site, located on Union Rd. and Peckham Streets in Norton and Attleboro, Massachusetts, from the National Priorities List. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Notice FWS seeks comment on applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species, marine mammals, or both. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice the Alabama Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Montgomery, Alabama. Info here.

Notice the Coconino County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Flagstaff, Arizona. Info here.

Notice the Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet via conference call. Details here.

Notice the Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet via conference call. Info here.

Notice the Lassen County Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Susanville, CA. Info here.

Notice the Lassen County Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Susanville, CA. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Notice Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information. Title: Economic Surveys of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Small Boat-based Fisheries. Details here.

Notice Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance the following proposal for collection of information. Title: Groundfish Trawl Catcher Processor Economic Data Report. Info here.

Notice Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance the following proposal for collection of information. Title: The Gulf of Alaska Trawl Groundfish Economic Data Report Program. Details here.