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


ANNOUNCEMENT: Mark your calendar for the next Agricultural & Food Law Consortium webinar, Wednesday, September 5th: Be In The Know:  Legal Tips for Your Ag Start-Up. Details available here.


JUDICIAL: Includes SNAP, urb & ag, and environmental issues.

In Shonice G. GARNETT et al., Plaintiffs, v. Laura ZEILINGER, Defendant, No. 17-cv-1757 (CRC), 2018 WL 4039332 (D.D.C. August 23, 2018), residents sued District of Columbia’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) administrator alleging District “failed to process their SNAP benefit applications in a timely manner,” and “failed to send timely notices that their eligibility to receive benefits needed to be recertified.” Defendant countered plaintiffs lack standing and have no cause of action. Court considered whether plaintiffs suffered “an actual injury that was ongoing,” and “traceable to the defendant’s challenged conduct.” Court noted plaintiffs in question submitted “recertification applications” and had eventually stopped receiving SNAP benefits. Defedant’s motion to dismiss denied in part.

WILLIAM ROUNDS, et al. v. MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND et al. No. 2501 September Term, 2016, 2018 WL 4050750 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. August 24, 2018) involved a public road access dispute wherein plaintffs alleged “the denial of recognition of [the road’s] existence has deprived them of both access and enjoyment of their properties.” Lower court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims for “failure to join all necessary parties,” and appellate court considered whether lower court erred in its conclusion. Plaintiffs did not join all potential parties, arguing that certain parcel owners would not be affected by plaintiff’s easement claims because they do not “adjoin” the real property at issue. Court disagreed with plaintiff’s interpretation and concluded that in easement actions, “all persons with an interest that would be affected by the declaration are interested and necessary parties in the action, which would obviously include adjoining landowners.” Court considered the relevant case law “did not hold or imply that adjacent property owners were the only interested parties in an easement dispute.” Affirmed for defendant.

PROTECTING OUR WATER & ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. STANISLAUS COUNTY et al., Defendants and Respondents, F073634, 2018 WL 4042782 (Cal. Ct. App. August 24, 2018) involved an appeal concerning water well construction permits wherein plaintiffs alleged County violated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) through its “pattern and practice of approving well construction permits . . . without applying the environmental review procedures of CEQA to its approval decisions.” Trial court found County’s approval of “exempt, nonvariance” well construction permits was “ministerial” and not subject to CEQA. Appellate court noted “discretionary decisions” require environmental review and reversed the trial court decision. Appellate court reasoned that “because the County retains discretion to determine whether a well will be placed an ‘adequate’ distance from a contamination source, the issuance of well construction permits is a ‘discretionary’ decision for CEQA purposes.”


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

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE: Rule would implement a recommendation from the Fresh Pear Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2018-2019 and subsequent fiscal periods. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. Info here.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Notice USDA has submitted an information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review. Title: National Woodland Owner Survey. Details here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is finalizing action on a revision to the Placer County Air Pollution Control District portion of the California State Implementation Plan. Details here.

Rule EPA Region 7 announces the deletion of 101 residential parcels of the Omaha Lead Superfund site (Site or OLS) located in Omaha, Nebraska, from the National Priorities List. Info here.

Rule EPA is granting final authorization of changes to Hawaii’s hazardous waste program submitted to EPA in the authorization application. Details here.

Rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of aspartic acid, N-(1,2-dicarboxyethyl)-, tetrasodium salt when used as an inert ingredient in antimicrobial pesticide products. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve a revision to the Indiana State Implementation Plan (SIP) to meet the base year emissions inventory. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve two state implementation plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of West Virginia. Info here.

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve revisions to the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted on July 14, 2014, by the State of Nebraska. Details here.

Rule EPA is approving revisions to the Nebraska State Implementation Plan (SIP) addressing the legal practices and procedures that govern the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) relating to public record law and the State’s Administrative Procedure Act. Info here.

Rule EPA is approving a revision to the New York State Implementation Plan (SIP) concerning sulfur-in-fuel limits. Info here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve a state implementation plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Maryland. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICENotice announces the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 priority list of grant awards for the wildlife and sport fish conservation projects from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE:

Notice FS Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the revision of a currently approved information collection, Pesticide-Use Proposal. Info here.

Notice FS announces solicitation for nominations to fill four vacancies on the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC). Members will be appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and serve a three-year term. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels greater than or equal to 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 opening directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 meters) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. Details here.

Rule giving notice of import restrictions on fish and fish products from Mexico caught with gillnets deployed in the range of the vaquita, an endangered porpoise. Info here.

Rule NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the golden tilefish recreational sector in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic for the 2018 fishing year through this temporary rule. Details here.

Notice NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Ferries Division (WSF) to incidentally take, by Level A and B harassment, marine mammals during construction activities associated with the Mukilteo Multimodal Project, Puget Sound, Washington. Details here.

Rule NMFS is adjusting the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) General category daily retention limit from three large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip to one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip for the remainder of the June through August 2018 subquota period. Info here.

Rule NMFS is adjusting the 2018 C seasonal apportionments of the total allowable catch (TAC) for pollock in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) by re-apportioning unharvested pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. Details here.

Notice NMFS is gathering information necessary to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for future management actions for the U.S. purse seine fishery in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). Details here.

RURAL HOUSING SERVICE: Rule RHS proposes to make several changes to the single-family housing guaranteed loan program (SFHGLP) regulations to streamline the loss claim process for lenders who have acquired title to property through voluntary liquidation or foreclosure; clarify that lenders must comply with applicable laws, including those within the purview of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and better align loss mitigation policies with those in the mortgage industry. Info here.