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


JUDICIAL: 

IN RE: BORDER INFRASTRUCTURE ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION, No.: 17cv1215–GPC(WVG), 2018 WL 1071702 (S.D. Cal. February 27, 2018) involved a challenge to two border wall construction projects in California. Environmental organizations and State of California opposed decision of Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) waiving legal requirements of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). Plaintiffs alleged the waivers “were ultra vires acts that exceeded DHS’s authority and that waivers violated various constitutional provisions.” Court found that DHS “did not act in excess of its delegated powers contrary to clear and mandatory statutory language.” Government’s motion for summary judgment granted.


LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 5103: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the excise tax and special occupational tax in respect of firearms and to increase the transfer tax on any other weapon. Text is now available.

S. 2488: A bill to amend title 37, United States Code, to exclude the receipt of basic allowance for housing for members of the Armed Forces in determining eligibility for certain Federal benefits. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 2489: A bill to amend the Housing Act of 1949 to extend the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to make loans to certain entities for housing and buildings on adequate farms. Referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

S. 2477: A bill to amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to modify the exception to the work requirement. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

S. 2479: A bill to amend the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 to address deferred maintenance at agricultural research facilities. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

H.R. 5133: To reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 5149: To provide that certain wilderness study areas in Montana have been adequately studied for wilderness designation. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 5148: To release certain wilderness study areas in the State of Montana. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.

S. 2487: A bill to amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to provide certain data on conservation practices. Referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry which will consider it before sending it to the Senate floor for consideration.


REGULATORY: Includes USDA, EPA and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Foot-and-Mouth Disease; Prohibition on Importation of Farm Equipment. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve a revision to the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). Details here.

Rule EPA is taking direct final action to grant the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to implement and enforce, with respect to area sources only, the Vermont Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Rule in place of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Facilities. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS transfers 10 metric tons (mt) of Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) quota from the Reserve category to the January 2018 subquota period. Details here.

Rule NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 50 feet length overall (LOA) using hook-and- line gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Info here.

Rule NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation’s and the Community Development Quota pollock directed fishing allowances from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea directed fisheries. Details here.

Rule NMFS announces the availability of an Issues and Options document and its intent to prepare an EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyzing impacts of potential new management measures for shortfin mako sharks. Details here.

Rule the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) submitted Amendment 115 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. Details here.

Rule NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to conducting construction activities related to marine structure maintenance and pile replacement at facilities in Washington. Details here.

Notice NMFS found that certain stocks are subject to overfishing, overfished, or approaching an overfished condition. Details here.

Notice Margaret Lamont, Ph.D., U.S. Geological Survey, 7320 NW 71st St., Gainesville, FL 32653, has applied in due form for a permit to take green, Kemp’s ridley, and loggerhead. Details here.

Notice Karen Holloway-Adkins, Ph.D., East Coast Biologists, Inc., P.O. Box 37715, Indialantic, Florida 32903, has applied in due form for a permit to take green and loggerhead sea turtles. Details here.

Notice NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Info here.