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


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JUDICIAL: Includes environmental law, nutrition programs, and CAFO issues.

In FRIENDS OF the COLUMBIA GORGE and Save Our Scenic Area, Petitioners, v. BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION, Respondent, No. 15-72788, 2018 WL 1476609 (9th Cir. March 27, 2018), plaintiffs sought review of defendant’s (BPA) decision to grant a wind project an “interconnection to [defendant’s] transmission system.” Defendant ruled the wind project was not a major federal action under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Issue for court was whether BPA’s “no-federal-action determination was arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law.” Court noted that the wind project “will receive no federal money,” and that the “federal government exercised no control over the planning and development of the Wind Project.” In denying plaintiff’s petition for review, court concluded “even if interconnection with BPA is the only feasible means of transmitting power generated from the Wind Project, the interconnection and the Wind Project ‘serve complementary, but distinct functions.’”

In Shonice G. GARNETT et al., Plaintiffs, v. Laura ZEILINGER, Defendant, No. 17–cv–1757 (CRC), 2018 WL 1524748 (D.D.C. March 28, 2018), plaintiffs, a group of recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, filed class action against the director of the benefit program alleging she violated federal requirements for administration of the program.  Here, they moved to certify two classes of benefits recipients. Defendant maintained plaintiffs’ claims “are too factually diverse and their legal theory too broadly defined to sustain a class action.”  Plaintiffs argued that defendant “has systemically failed to comply with the requirements under the statute for processing SNAP benefit applications and issuing recertification notices.” Court granted plaintiffs’ motion after reaosning that “the statutory scheme provides the requisite level of specificity: it sets clear timelines for handling SNAP benefit applications and recertification notices and clearly mandates that States follow them.”

Jane & Jeff BURLINGAME, Pam Holter, James & Jennifer Hyde, Shane & Chantel Levardi, Kip & Angela McCabe, John & Veronica Molitoris, April & Matthew Snyder, Jacqueline & Barry Titus, Jeffrey & Colleen Walker, John & Patricia Kachurka, Dwayne & Sandra Hilton, Lesley Betz, John & Sharon Yasneski, Gerald & Jacqueline Hittle, Scott Karchner, Stephin & Marie Cargill, James & Erin Moran, Beth Kishbaugh–Alba, Robert & Cynthia Lombard, Antonio & Kerri Troiani, Jason & Melanie Lear, Dennis & Andrea Evensen, Richard & Emily Weaver, Keith & Lisa Seely, Richard & Dolores Mayo, Zachary & Heather Getkin, Mary Mitchem, Hushang Tatar, Davit Szatkowski, Susan Slusser, Victor & Chris Bowes, Charles & Laura Naus, Robert & Lois Albertson, Gary & Tammy Wanczak, Michael & Michelle Montecalvo, Marc & Kathryn Nespoli, Karleen Fuller, Helena Samsel, Jeffrey & Annamae Kantor, Joseph & Connie Nespoli, Donald & Kathleen Bohl, Gary & Tammy Swank, Susan Dalto, Davit & Tami Berheiser, Joseph & Michelle Passaretti, Thomas Cicini, Jr. & Elissabeth Cicini, Robert L. Albertson, Sr., Keith & Judith Weaver, Nicholas Coleman, Stephen & Ginny Crake, Bressi Arndt, John & Lisa Arndt, Terry L. Boyer, Lamont & Ruthann Brown, David & Gina Brown, Thomas & Marie Cicini, Peter & Joann Colone, William Conner, Jr. & Judy Conner, Roger & Michele Crake, Frank & Linda Crayton, Richard Holloway, Louella S. Jackson, Samuel & Susan Jaffin, Raymond Kashmer, Robert Kowalski, Sr. & Diane Kowalski, Loraine Laubach, Michael A. Monico, Jr., Joseph Procida, Codie Rimmer, Gabrielle Roman, Robert & Carol Seigfried, Robert Sukel, Craig & Jessica Taylor, Andrew & Jessica Walter, Francis & Ann Yosh, Harold & Samantha Piasecki, Jeff & Mindy Brown, Audrey Maloney, Jeff Becker, David Becker, Thomas Becker, Barbara Kampf, Dorothy Kampf, Michael Malinowski, Orville Kneezle, Beverly Harmon, James Labar, and Louise Krolikowski, Appellants v. Paul & Suzanna M. DAGOSTIN, Douglas Zehner, and Country View Family Farms, LLC, Appellees, Kip McCabe, Sr. & Angela McCabe, April & Matthew Snyder, Jacqueline & Barry Titus, Jeffrey & Colleen Walker, Pam Holter, Mark & Glenda Sterner, John & Veronica Molitoris, Michael Malinowski, William & Kelly Grozier, Shane & Chantel Levardi, Harold & Samantha Piasecki, James & Jennifer Hyde, Jane Burlingame, Dwayne & Sandra Hilton, Cathy McDaniels, Shannon Koch, Robert Kowalski, Sr., Karleen Fuller, Jason & Melanie Lear, Beth Alba, William Fedder, Heather Flannery, Jody Kuczenski, Brian Betz, Calistria Pitkin, Toni Mormando, Thomas & Amy Dibattista, Michael Montecalvo, Thomas & Marie Cicini, Erin & James Moran, Charles Benscoter, Gene & Rose Blockus, Anna Farruggio, Darrell & Norma Jones, Colleen & Shawn Golomb, Andrea & Dennis Evensen, Scott & Molly Kern, Estee Beck, Marion & John Celona, Robert Sukel, Bob Albertson, Jackson Traugh, Sante D’Ambrosio, Kellie Soberick, Jeffrey Eyer, Ken & Veronica Lockard, Ernest Cole, Dinesh Merta, Michael Whitemire, Deanna Shuckers, Fred Kitchen, Kerri & Tony Troiani, Jerome & Judith Golomb, Jeffery Cain, Bette Ryan, Steve Kinney, Scott & Christine Hook, Dave & Gera Zeitler, Andrew & Jessica Walter, Pamela Holter, Susan Slusser, David R. Szatkowski, Paul Fricks, Carol & Robert Seigfried, Lamont Brown, Audrey Maloney, Harold & Samantha Piasecki, Lenard Badolato, Mark & Marcella Benish, David & Sue Bogart, Keith & Heather Botto, Steven Bower, Jennifer Burns, Carol & Robert Chambers, Bob Clark, Stella Dietrich, Lori Dennis, Linda Eyer, Ken Ferguson, Randy & Candice Fiorey, Karen Fuller, Donald Goff, Lewis Griffiths, Nancy Guard, Jim Holloway, Herbert & Judy Harmon, and Beverly Harmon, Appellants v. Paul & Suzanna M. Dagostin, and Douglas Zehner, Appellees, No. 799 MDA 2017, No. 800 MDA 2017, 2018 WL 1530690 (Pa. Super. Ct. March 29, 2018) involved a nuisance action regarding defendants’ conversion of their farm to a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) for pigs. Issue for court was whether plaintiffs’ nuisance claim “is barred by the RTFA’s (Right to Farm Act) one-year statute of repose.” Court considered the definition of “agricultural operation,” noting that the state’s RTFA “provides no definition for the term.” Court also observed that “in agriculture statutes governing nutrient management and odor management, ‘agricultural operations’ are defined as ‘The management and use of farming resources for the production of crops, livestock or poultry.’” Court ruled plaintiffs’ claims are barred and granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment.


LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 5420: To authorize the acquisition of land for addition to the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in the State of New York. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.


REGULATORY: Includes AMS, ARS, EPA, FSA, FWS, FNS, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICERule AMS proposes the issuance of a Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) regulating the handling of milk in California. This proposed rule proposes adoption of a California FMMO incorporating the entire state of California and would adopt the same dairy product classification and pricing provisions used throughout the current FMMO system. Info here.

AGRCULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE: Notice USDA seeks comments on the intent of the USNA to renew an information collection that expires August 31, 2018. 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 final action to approve revisions to the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). Info here.

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve a revision to the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District portion of the California State Implementation Plan. Info here.

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve a portion of a State Implementation Plan revision submitted by the State of Florida, through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on February 1, 2017, for the purpose of revising Florida’s requirements and procedures for emissions monitoring at stationary sources. Details here.

Rule EPA is approving a State Implementation Plan revision submitted on September 13, 2017, by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, through the Kentucky Division for Air Quality in support of the Commonwealth’s separate petition requesting that EPA remove the federal reformulated gasoline requirements for Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties in the Kentucky portion of the Cincinnati-Hamilton, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana 2008 8-hr ozone maintenance area. Info here.

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve a negative declaration for existing commercial and industrial solid waste incineration units within the State of Maryland. Info here.

FARM SERVICE AGENCY: Notice the Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency are requesting comments from all interested individuals and organizations on an extension with a revision of a currently approved information collection. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE:

Rule FWS propose to reclassify the Hawaiian goose from endangered to threatened, and we propose a rule under section 4(d) of the Act to enhance conservation of the species through range expansion and management flexibility. Info here.

Notice FWS announces the availability of our draft recovery plan for four invertebrate species– Noel’s Amphipod, Koster’s springsnail, Roswell springsnail, and Pecos assiminea–all of which are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Details here.

FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE: Notice announces the surplus and purchased foods that the Department expects to make available for donation to States for use in providing nutrition assistance to the needy under The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Notice Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance the following proposal for collection of information. Title: Weather Modification Activities Reports. Details here.

Notice Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance the following proposal for collection of information. Title: Economic Value of Wildlife Viewing Passengers in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Info here.

Notice NMFS announces its intention to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate potential environmental effects associated with continued implementation of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. Details here.