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


JUDICIAL: Includes pesticides, CWA, climate change, and Urb & Ag issues.

NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, Petitioner, v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent. Center for Food Safety; International Center for Technology Assessment, Petitioners, v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Scott Pruitt,* in his official capacity as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Respondents, No. 15-72308, No. 15-72312, 2017 WL 2324714 (9th Cir. May 30, 2017) concerned registration of the pesticide NSPW, an antimicrobial materials preservative. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conditionally registered NSPW in May 2015. Petitioners opposed EPA’s registration of NSPW contending the agency failed to support its findings that “use of NPSW is in the public interest.” Court found that, “After reviewing the conditional registration for substantial evidence, we conclude the EPA failed to support its finding that NSPW is in the public interest.” Conditional registration vacated.

In OHIO VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL COALITION, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Sierra Club, Plaintiffs, v. FOAL COAL COMPANY, LLC, Defendant, NO. 2:15-1371, 2017 WL 2312478 (S.D.W. Va. May 26, 2017), plaintiffs sued under citizen suit provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), claiming defendant discharged “excessive amounts of ionic pollution, measured as conductivity, into the waters of West Virginia in violation of their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.” Court reasoned that the CWA prohibits “discharge of any pollutant by any person unless a statutory exception applies.” Court found defendant violated its permits by discharging high levels of ionic pollution causing “a significant adverse impact to the chemical and biological components of the applicable streams’ aquatic ecosystems.”

In POET, LLC et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. STATE AIR RESOURCES BOARD et al., Defendants and Respondents; NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, INC., Intervener and Respondent, F073340, 2017 WL 2350103 (C.D. Cal. May 30, 2017), the California Air Resources Board (ARB) violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in establishing low carbon fuel standard regulations and court issued a writ of mandate compelling ARB to take “corrective action.” Issue was “whether ARB’s disclosures about the project’s effects on biodiesel consumption, and the related increases in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, satisfied paragraph 3 of the writ of mandate.” Court reviewed the writ and determined ARB’s analysis “was improper and generated flawed results.” Based on ARB’s flawed analysis, court concluded the writ “should not have been discharged and the CEQA violation continues uncorrected.”

In AllEnergy Corporation and AllEnergy Silica, Arcadia, LLC, Petitioners-Appellants-Petitioners, v. Trempealeau County Environment & Land Use Committee, Respondent-Respondent, No. 2015AP491, 2017 WL 2349200 (Wis. May 31, 2017), plaintiff appealed decision by defendant denying a conditional use permit application for “non-metallic mineral mining.” Issue was whether defendant “exercised the powers conferred by the ordinance.” Court noted that defendant, in reaching its decision denying the conditional use permit, considered factors such as “the impact of [plaintiff’s] mine on the general health, safety, and welfare of the public,” and “the wise use of the county’s material resources.” Court found that defendant “kept within its jurisdiction” and affirmed ruling for defendant denying the permit.


REGULATORY: Includes EPA, FWS, FNS, FSIS, ITA, NOAA, OAO, and RHS rules and notices.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is making an interim final determination to defer imposition of sanctions based on a proposed determination that the State of Arizona has submitted rules that satisfy the requirements of part D of the Clean Air Act permitting program for areas under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing approval of regulatory revisions to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality portion of the applicable state implementation plan for the State of Arizona. Info here.

Rule EPA will approve portions of a state implementation plan revision submittal from the State of Delaware pursuant to the Clean Air Act. Info here.

Rule EPA will approve revisions to Idaho’s State Implementation Plan submitted in 2012 and 2014 to address Clean Air Act requirements for the Idaho portion of the Logan, Utah-Idaho fine particulate matter nonattainment area. Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE:

Notice FWS announces availability of a draft Texas Coastal Bend Shortgrass Prairie Multi-Species Recovery Plan that includes the slender rush-pea and South Texas ambrosia. Info here.

Notice FWS announces availability of a joint draft environmental impact statement and draft environmental impact report under the National Environmental Policy Act. Details here.

Notice FWS will authorize the incidental taking by harassment of small numbers of Pacific walruses and polar bears from July 1 to November 15, 2017. Details here.

FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE: Notice FNS seeks comment on a proposed information collection concerning a revision of a currently approved collection for FNS-245, Case and Procedural Case Action Review Schedule. Info here.

FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE:

Notice FSIS will request a renewal of the approved information collection regarding electronic import inspection. Info here.

Notice FSIS is announcing the dollar limitations on the amount of meat and meat food products, poultry, and poultry products that a retail store can sell to hotels, restaurants, and similar institutions without disqualifying itself for exemption from Federal inspection requirements. Details here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION: Notice ITA revokes the antidumping order on shrimp from Brazil. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS implements an accountability measure for the commercial sector for yellowtail snapper in the South Atlantic exclusive economic zone. Details here.

Notice NMFS seeks comment on an information collection concerning Alaska Region Scale and Catch Weighing Requirements. Info here.

Notice NMFS published a document in the Federal Register of May 18, 2017, to announce two meetings to inform the public of the availability of the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment and to invite the public to provide written and oral comments. Info here.

OFFICE OF ADVOCACY AND OUTREACH: Notice the Secretary of Agriculture is soliciting nominations for membership for the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers. Info here.

RURAL HOUSING SERVICE: Notice RHS is soliciting competitive applications under its Housing Preservation Grant program. Info here.