A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.
In ALASKA WILDLIFE ALLIANCE v. DEBRA HAALAND, Sec’y of the Interior, et al., Defendants, & SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL, et al., Intervenor-Defendants., No. 3:20-CV-00209-SLG, 2022 WL 1553556 (D. Alaska May 17, 2022), the court determined whether to remand a National Park Service (NPS) rule with or without vacatur. The plaintiffs challenged the rule which allowed sport hunting in national preserves in Alaska that were formerly prohibited under a different NPS rule. Defendants moved for remand without vacatur in order to revisit the rule and publish a new one. The court found that neither remand nor vacatur were appropriate in this case without determining the merits of the case. The court denied defendant’s motion for remand and the case should move forward.
In DESERT SURVIVORS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, et al., Defendants., No. 20-CV-06787-JSC, 2022 WL 1539530 (N.D. Cal. May 16, 2022), the plaintiffs challenged the federal government’s withdrawal of its proposal to list the bi-state sage grouse as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The plaintiffs argued that the determination that the bi-state sage grouse population was stable failed to account for all the risks and ignored the best available evidence. The court found that the Department of the Interior erred in analyzing the data on extirpation of smaller PMUs; concluding that the effective population size was above the minimum threshold for viability; determining that the bi-state sage grouse is not likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout a significant portion of its range; and determining that cheatgrass removal was sufficiently certain to be effective as a conservation measure, although the conclusion about cheatgrass removal may not change the outcome here. The court held that these errors were not harmless and concluded that the withdrawal of the rule was arbitrary and capricious. The withdrawal was vacated and remanded for a new final listing decision.
REGULATORY: EPA, FWS, NOAA
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Final rule establishing tolerances for residues of the insecticide flonicamid, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on small fruit vine climbing (except fuzzy kiwifruit), at 3 parts per million. Info here.
Final rule finalizing an interim final rule and revising certain provisions of other EPA financial assistance regulations to make non-substantive technical corrections to the text of the rules. Info here.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Notice announcing the availability of a draft habitat conservation plan and draft categorical exclusion for activities associated with an application for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act. Info here.
NATIONAL OCEANIC ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
Notice announcing that NOAA/NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization to Ocean Wind II, LLC, an affiliate of Orsted Wind Power North America LLC, to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment, marine mammals during marine site characterization surveys off New Jersey in and around the area of Commercial Lease of Submerged Lands for Renewable Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf. Info here.