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


JUDICIAL: Includes nutrition programs, international trade, and water law issues.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Reinaldo ARTEAGA, Defendant-Appellant, No. 16-17306, 2017 WL 5474424 (11th Cir. November 15, 2017) involved an appeal by defendant of his sentence for conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud. Defendant argued lower court erred when it based a Sentencing Guidelines enhancement “on the amount he attempted to redeem in food stamps . . . instead of the amount actually redeemed.” Appellate court observed that “[w]hen a defendant is convicted of fraud, the Guidelines add level enhancements based upon the amount of loss caused by the offense.” Court concluded that defendant’s argument “that the intended loss is commensurate with the amount actually received—conflicts with the Guidelines definition of intended loss, which is ‘pecuniary harm that the defendant purposely sought to inflict.’” Affirmed.

In SCL BASILISK AG, Thorco Shipping A/S, Plaintiff-Appellants, v. AGRIBUSINESS UNITED SAVANNAH LOGISTICS LLC, Agribusiness United Inc., Agribusiness United DMCC Inc., Agribusiness United DMCC (Dubai) LLC, Sonada Agro Limited (UK) LLC, Defendants-Appellees, No. 16-15535, 2017 WL 5382747 (11th Cir. November 14, 2017), a ship owner and shipping company brought maritime action seeking an order “requiring posting of security by suppliers of agricultural commodities in aid of pending international arbitration in London, United Kingdom.” Plaintiffs appealed the denial of their request. Dispute originally arose over the performance of a “charter agreement” wherein plaintiff was to carry grain from New Orleans to Portugal and Morocco. There was a delay in shipment after insurance coverage was not provided by defendant, as agreed, and plaintiff claimed damages. Issue concerned the meaning of the phrase “interim measure of protection” used in the applicable statute. Appellate court concluded that the applicable statute “implementing International Commercial Arbitration Code provision governing interim measures of protection by court did not grant authority to court to create new substantive remedies.” Affirmed for defendant.

James C. QUIGLEY and Linda M.S. Quigley, Claimants, Objectors and Appellants, Richard L. Beck, Claimant, Counter-Objector and Appellee, Avista Corporation, Objector, DA 16-0629, 2017 WL 5436445 (Mont. November 14, 2017) concerned conflicting claims of ownership over four water rights for irrigation from a creek. Water Master issued a report dividing the four rights between the parties based on a ratio of the irrigated acres owned by each party. Water Court affirmed and plaintiff (Quigley) appealed. State Supreme Court cited Spaeth v. Emmett, 383 P.2d 812 (Mont. 1963) and observed that “the appurtenant water right is divided in respective amounts to each tract measured in proportion as the number of acres irrigated with the water right on the land conveyed bears to the total number of acres irrigated by the water.” Court concluded that “[s]uccessors in interest cannot enlarge a water right beyond that which was conveyed.” Affirmed.


LEGISLATIVE:

S. 2130: A bill to establish within the Department of the Interior the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S. 2133: A bill to amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into alternative funding arrangements with certain community irrigation associations and community land grants. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

H.R. 4409: Making supplemental appropriations for the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control projects and storm damage reduction projects in areas affected by flooding in the city of Jacksonville, Florida. Bill referred to the House Committee on Appropriations and House Committee on the Budget.

H.R. 4400: To amend the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to make improvements to the food safety education program carried out under such Act. Bill referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.


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

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: Summer Meal Study. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is withdrawing the direct final rule for Approval of Implementation Plans; State of Iowa; Elements of the Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2010 Nitrogen Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) published in the Federal Register on September 20, 2017. Info here.

Rule EPA is withdrawing the direct final rule for Approval of Implementation Plans; State of Iowa; Elements of the Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) published in the Federal Register on September 29, 2017. Details here.

Rule EPA is withdrawing the direct final rule for Approval of Kansas Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Construction Permits and Approvals Program, published in the Federal Register on September 21, 2017. Details here.

Rule EPA is withdrawing the September 25, 2017 direct final rule that approved the 2011 base year inventory for the Maryland portion of the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City marginal nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standard. Details here.

Rule EPA is withdrawing the August 28, 2017 direct final rule that approved a revision to the Maryland state implementation plan (SIP) to incorporate by reference a Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) order that establishes an alternative volatile organic compound (VOC) emission standard for National Gypsum Company (NGC) to ensure that it remains a minor VOC source. Info here.

Rule EPA is withdrawing the direct final rule Approval of Nebraska Air Quality Implementation Plans; Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2010 Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide and the 2012 Fine Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards, published in the Federal Register on September 20, 2017. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve a revision to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve and conditionally approve revisions to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD or “District”) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). Details here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Notice FWS has made a finding that the killing of African elephant trophy animals in Zimbabwe, on or after January 21, 2016, and on or before December 31, 2018, will enhance the survival of the African elephant. Details here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice This notice solicits comments on the Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Data on Tobacco Products and Communications. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE: Notice the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. 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 Value of the Research in the Olympic Coast and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. Info here.

Notice Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information. Title: Scientific Research, Exempted Fishing, and Exempted Activity Submissions. Details here.

Notice requesting an extension of a currently approved information collection. The Alaska Commercial Operator’s Annual Report (COAR) is a report that collects harvest and production information broken out by specific criteria such as gear type, area, delivery and product type, and pounds and value. The COAR is due by April 1 of the year following any buying or processing activity. Info here.

Notice is hereby given that Nicole Phillips, Ph.D., The University of Southern Mississippi, Department of Biological Sciences, 118 College Drive #5018, Hattiesburg, MS 39406 (File No. 20590) and David Portnoy, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, TX 78412 (File No. 20610), have applied in due form for permits to receive and import sawfish and scalloped hammerhead shark samples for purposes of scientific research. Details here.