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


ANNOUNCEMENT: Join us for the next Agricultural & Food Law Consortium webinar, Wednesday, September 19th, at 12 noon (ET): Understanding USDA’s New Dairy Revenue Insurance Program. Details here.


JUDICIAL: Includes CWA and SNAP issues.

In DOUGLAS VERDIER and ANDREW LONG, Plaintiffs, v. GREG BOST and LAURIE BOST, Defendants, NO. C18-5043 BHS, 2018 WL 4335626 (W.D. Wash. September 11, 2018), plaintiffs claimed defendants dumped soil directly into a river “for a period of at least thirty days” and that the discharge of soil was “a pollutant within the meaning of the Clean Water Act (CWA).” Court observed that the CWA does not permit suits for violations “wholly past,” and requires plaintiffs “to show that a defendant is ‘in violation’ of the CWA at the time the lawsuit is filed.” Court considered plaintiffs’ evidence and concluded they did not “create a nexus between Defendants’ thirty-day introduction of soil in 2013 and an ongoing CWA violation today.” Plaintiffs’ CWA claim dismissed.

In SS GROCERY, INC. and Abu Numan, Plaintiffs, v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE, Defendant, 16-cv-03966 (LDH) (CLP), 2018 WL 4344950 (E.D.N.Y. September 11, 2018), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) disqualified plaintiff from participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for trafficking in benefits, and plaintiff appealed. Court observed that FNS is permitted to consider a variety of factors when determining whether a trafficking finding is warranted. Here, the court noted the number of transactions “ending in the same cents value” and the number of recipients “making multiple transactions in unusually short time frames.” The court also considered evidence of recipients “exhausting all or a majority of benefits in unusually short periods of time.” The court concluded the evidence was “indicative of Plaintiffs’ trafficking,” and dismissed.


LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 660: Bureau of Reclamation Transparency Act. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week. Passed in the House on September 12, 2018.

H.R. 4689: To authorize early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska. Passed in the House on September 12, 2018.

H.R. 6040: Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week.

H.R. 1109: To amend section 203 of the Federal Power Act. Added to the House’s schedule for the coming week.

S. 3439: A bill to redesignate the Reconstruction Era National Monument as the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, and for other purposes. Referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

H.R. 6784: To provide for removal of the gray wolf in the contiguous 48 States from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife published under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 6776: Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2019. Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.

H.R. 6782: To determine the feasibility of additional agreements for long-term use of existing or expanded non-Federal storage and conveyance facilities to augment Federal water supply, ecosystem, and operational flexibility benefits in certain areas. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 6771: Domestic Offshore Energy Reinvestment Act of 2018. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.R. 3764: Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act of 2018. Bill passed in the House on September 12, 2018.

H.R. 4824: To allow certain State and tribal permitting authority to encourage expansion of broadband service to rural and tribal communities. Bill passed in the House on September 12, 2018 and goes to the Senate next for consideration.

H.R. 2591: Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act. Passed in the House on September 12, 2018 and goes to the Senate next for consideration.

H.R. 2606: Stigler Act Amendments of 2018. Passed in the House on September 12, 2018.

H.R. 5532: Reconstruction Era National Historical Park Act. On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.


REGULATORY: Includes AMS, USDA, APHIS, EPA, FWS, FNS, FS, ITA, NOAA, and OCP rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Rule proposes an amendment to Marketing Order No. 929, which regulates the handling of cranberries grown in the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island in the State of New York. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services published a document in the Federal Register of September 6, 2018 concerning solicitation of nominations for membership on the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The document contained incorrect dates. Info here.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE: Rule APHIS is amending regulations governing the importation of fruits and vegetables by broadening our existing performance standard to provide for approval of all new fruits and vegetables for importation into the United States using a notice-based process. Details here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYRule EPA Region 3 announces the deletion of the Recticon/Allied Steel Corp Superfund Site (Site) located in East Coventry Twp, PA, from the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL, promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, is an appendix of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICENotice FWS invites the public to comment on applications to conduct certain activities with foreign species that are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities with listed species unless Federal authorization is issued that allows such activities. Details here.

FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE: Notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. This collection is an extension, without change, of a currently approved collection to conduct various procedures to test questionnaires and survey procedures to improve the quality and usability of information collection instruments. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice FS is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the renewal of a currently approved information collection, Understanding Value Trade-offs regarding Fire Hazard Reduction Programs in the Wildland-Urban Interface (OMB # 0596-0189), with a revision for the removal of in-depth phone interviews and minor changes in questionnaire. Info here.

Notice FS will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Strawberry to Cascade allotment management plans (AMPs). Details here.

Notice FS Bridger-Teton National Forest is advising the public that the public scoping period for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement on the Snow King Mountain Resort On-mountain Improvements Project has been reopened. Details here.

Notice the Monongahela National Forest is proposing to charge a reservation fee at the newly constructed Seneca Rocks Picnic Shelter of $75 per day plus a $10 service fee. Info here.

Notice the Huron-Manistee National Forests proposes to charge fees at several campsites and special recreation areas. Details here.

Notice the Coronado National Forest is proposing new recreation fees at 13 day use sites at $8 a day or $40 for an annual pass, four campgrounds at $15 a day, and six group camping sites and one group picnic site at $50 a day, plus $10 per vehicle per day. Details here.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE AMDINISTRATIONNotice ITA determines that Fimex VN sold certain frozen warmwater shrimp from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) at less than normal value (NV) during the period of review (POR), February 1, 2016, through January 31, 2017. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Notice the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will hold a two- day meeting of its Standing, Reef Fish and Socioeconomic Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSC). Info here.

Notice the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold public meetings of the Council and its Committees. Info here.

Notice the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory committees will meet October 1, 2018 through October 9, 2018. Details here.

PROCUREMENT AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT OFFICERule USDA is proposing to amend the Guidelines for Designating Biobased Products for Federal Procurement (Guidelines) to add 30 sections that will designate the product categories within which biobased products would be afforded procurement preference by Federal agencies and their contractors. Info here.