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


JUDICIAL: Includes Urb & Ag, ag leases, and environmental issues.

Jim HULL and Nancy Hull et al., Appellant-Respondents, v. PLEASANT HILL SCHOOL DISTRICT, Respondent-Appellant, WD 79302 and WD 79318, 2017 WL 2436929 (Mo. Ct. App. June 6, 2017), involved an inverse-condemnation case wherein a jury determined flooding caused by improvements to a school district’s property “had taken the entirety of a 46-acre golf course owned by [plaintiffs]” and awarded them $3 million. On appeal, defendant challenged plaintiffs’ standing and questioned their ownership of the land in question. Court determined that “evidence supports the jury’s finding that the total and permanent taking occurred in October 2013, at which time, it was indisputable that the Hulls owned the golf-course property.” Appellate court ruled plaintiffs had “a legally cognizable interest and actual injury that conferred standing to bring an inverse-condemnation claim against the District.”

In Linda K. MILLER, Appellant, v. William BURNETT, Appellee, No. 116,373, 2017 WL 2493232 (Kan. Ct. App. June 9, 2017), plaintiff rented 35 acres of pastureland from defendant to grow and harvest brome grass. The parties had an oral lease agreement and a dispute arose with plaintiff claiming defendant violated the oral lease when he “allowed a neighbor’s horses to graze on the pastureland that she rented from him and when he denied her access to the land for 3 months.” Defendant countered that plaintiff stopped paying rent. Appellate court reasoned, “A landlord’s duty to mitigate damages does not authorize interference with the tenant’s rights to exclusive possession and quiet enjoyment of the leased premises.” Reversed and remanded for plaintiff.

In re: In the Matter of the Complaint of Settoon Towing, L.L.C., as Owner and Operator of the M/V Hannah C. Settoon, for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability, SETTOON TOWING, L.L.C., Owner and Operator of the M/V Hannah C. Settoon, Petitioner – Appellee v. MARQUETTE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, L.L.C., Claimant – Appellant, No. 16-30459, 2017 WL 2486018 (5th Cir. June 9, 2017) involved a collision between two barges on the Mississippi River. On issue of liability, district court allowed contribution and determined the percentage of fault of each party. On appeal, court considered whether a “Responsible Party [is] entitled to contribution for purely economic damages from a third party found to be partially liable?” Court provided a lengthy analysis of the federal Oil Pollution Act and concluded, “Where both parties to a collision are in violation of statutes designed to prevent collisions, the court may apportion fault between the parties, unless either party proves that its statutory violation was not a substantial contributing cause of the collision.” District court ruling affirmed.


LEGISLATIVE:

S. 117: Alex Diekmann Peak Designation Act of 2017. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S.  216: Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 199: A bill to authorize the use of the active capacity of the Fontenelle Reservoir. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 267: A bill to provide for the correction of a survey of certain land in the State of Alaska. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 363: North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 490: A bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Gibson Dam. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 491: A bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving Clark Canyon Dam. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 703: Wichita Project Equus Beds Division Authorization Extension Act. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 710: A bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving Jennings Randolph Dam. This bill’s text for status Reported by Senate Committee (Jun 8, 2017) is now available.

S. 1332: A bill to establish the Great Lakes Aquatic Connectivity and Infrastructure Program, and for other purposes. This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works which will consider it before sending it to the Senate floor for consideration.

H.R. 2862: To provide for wildfire suppression operations, and for other purposes. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, House Committee on Natural Resources, and one other committee which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.

H.R. 2863: To provide for consistent and reliable authority and funding to meet conservation and deferred maintenance needs affecting lands under the administrative jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, House Committee on Natural Resources, and one other committee which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.


REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, EPA, FS, GIPSA, ITA, NASS, NIST, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Rule proposes amendments to Marketing Order No. 982 regulating the handling of hazelnuts grown in Oregon and Washington. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: APHIS Pest Reporting and Asian Longhorned Beetle Program. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is approving state implementation plan revisions submitted by the State of California to provide for attainment of the 1997 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards in the Coachella Valley nonattainment area. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing action on a revision to the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District portion of the California State Implementation Plan. Details here.

Rule revises the requirements contained in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement regulations relating to maintaining a lease beyond its primary term. Details here.

Rule EPA is approving revisions to the Texas State Implementation Plan submitted by the State of Texas that pertain to regulations to control air pollution from motor vehicles with mobile source incentive programs. Details here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice Bitterroot National Forest will prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed Gold Butterfly project under the authorities in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Details here.

Notice FS will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Hi Lo Project. Details here.

GRAIN INSPECTION, PACKERS AND STOCKYARDS ADMINISTRATION: Notice GIPSA is suspending the fees that it charges for the supervision of official inspection and weighing services performed by delegated States and/or designated agencies under the United States Grain Standards Act. Details here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION:

Notice that on May 1, 2017, ITA notified the producers/exporters that were signatories to the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Duty Investigation on sugar from Mexico of its intent to terminate the AD Agreement unless a new agreement was reached on or before June 5, 2017. Details here.

Notice that on May 1, 2017, the Department notified the Government of Mexico (GOM) of its intent to terminate the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Duty Investigation on sugar from Mexico (CVD Agreement) unless a new agreement was reached on or before June 5, 2017. Info here.

Notice of NAFTA Panel Decision in the matter of Supercalendered Paper from Canada: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination. Info here.

Notice that on March 17, 2017, the Department of Commerce published the preliminary results of the changed circumstances review of the antidumping duty order on certain pasta from Italy. Details here.

NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE: Notice NASS will request feedback from the general public on the “Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Programs”. Info here.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY: Notice the National Advisory Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction will meet on Tuesday, June 27, and Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS withdraws a proposed rule proposing to establish strict limits, termed “hard caps,” for the California/Oregon large-mesh drift gillnet fishery on interactions with certain protected species under Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act authority. Info here.

Notice NOAA will submit to OMB for clearance a proposal for collection of information. Title: West Coast Region Pacific Tuna Fisheries Logbook and Fish Aggregating Device Form. Info here.