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


JUDICIAL: Includes renewable energy and CWA issues.

In HERON BAY HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. CITY OF SAN LEANDRO, Respondent, Defendant, and Appellant; Halus Power Systems et al., Real Parties in Interest and Appellants, A143985, 19 Cal.App.5th 376 (N.D. Cal. January 12, 2018), plaintiff (homeowners’ association) sought order directing property owner to comply with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before proceeding with installation of an “electricity-generating 100-foot-tall wind turbine” on its property. Lower court awarded association “private attorney general” attorney fees and the property owner appealed. Appellate court held association’s financial interests in litigation “did not preclude a finding of eligibility for ‘private attorney general’ attorney fees.” Affirmed.

In GRANT TRESSLER, Plaintiff, v. SUMMIT TOWNSHIP and the COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Defendants, No. 3:17-cv-32, 2018 WL 948773 (W.D. Pa. February 16, 2018), a property owner sued under the Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law. Plaintiff alleged defendant damaged his property and the waters of the United States “by maintaining a ‘ditch-and-culvert system’ that discharges storm water and untreated sewage onto his property and into a river bordering his property.” Defendant filed motion to dismiss and argued plaintiff’s claims “are barred by Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity because [defendant] is an arm of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Court observed plaintiff could not invoke an exception to sovereign immunity because “citizen suits filed pursuant to the provisions of the Clean Water Act do not abrogate a state’s Eleventh Amendment immunity.” Court concluded plaintiff failed to state a claim and dismissed the action.


LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 5071: To amend the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 to make certain changes to the membership of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education, and Economics Advisory Board. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture

H.R. 5070: To restore certain exceptions to the United States Grain Standards Act. Referred to the House Committee on Agriculture

H.R. 5073: To authorize the Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority System and the Musselshell-Judith Rural Water System in the States of Montana and North Dakota. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.


REGULATORY: Includes APHIS, EPA, FDA, and NOAA rules and notices.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE:

Notice advising the public that an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared by APHIS relative to the release of the gall mite for classical biological control of hoary cress in the contiguous United States. Details here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve a revision to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) portion of the Arizona State Implementation Plan (SIP). Details here.

Rule EPA is taking final action to approve revisions to the Commonwealth of Virginia (Virginia) state implementation plan (SIP). Info here.

Rule establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of the biochemical methyl-alpha-D- mannopyranoside in or on all raw agricultural commodities when applied/used as a plant growth regulator. Info here.

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Notice FDA is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Title: New Animal Drugs for Investigational Use. Details here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION:

Rule NMFS implements an accountability measure (AM) to close the hook-and-line component of the commercial sector for king mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) southern zone. Details here.

Rule NMFS proposes to approve new fishery management measures to limit incidental catch of endangered Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon (SRWC) in fisheries managed under the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Pacific Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Info here.

Notice NMFS has received a request from Statoil Wind U.S. LLC for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to marine site characterization surveys off the coast of New York as part of the Empire Wind Project in the area of the Commercial Lease of Submerged Lands for Renewable Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf and coastal waters where one or more cable route corridors will be established. Info here.

Notice NMFS has received a request from the National Park Service (NPS) for authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals incidental to glaucous-winged gull and climate monitoring/research in Glacier Bay National Park (GLBA NP), Alaska over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Details here.

Notice NMFS has received a request from the City of Astoria for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving and construction work during the Waterfront Bridge Replacement Project in Astoria, Oregon. Info here.