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, Tuesday, January 16th: “The New Deal: Understanding and Negotiating Dairy Supply Contracts.” Details available here.

JUDICIAL: Includes CWA and international trade issues. 

In In the Matter of Sierra Club, et al., appellants, v. Joseph Martens, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, et al., respondents, 2015–02317 (Index No. 2949/14), 2018 WL 343744 (N.Y App. Div. January 10, 2018), environmental groups protested a permit issued to thermoelectric generating station operating on a river. Plaintiffs claimed the permit should not have been issue per the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). Supreme Court concluded defendant agency lacked authority to deny the permit and was “required to issue the initial permit regardless of environmental concerns.” Appellate court reversed, finding that issuance of an “initial permit” for making water withdrawals under the Environmental Conservation Law “is not a ministerial act that is excluded from the definition of ‘action’ under SEQRA.”

In UNITED STATES of America EX REL. Brandon BARRICK, Plaintiff/Relator-Appellant, v. PARKER-MIGLIORINI INTERNATIONAL, LLC; Parker International, Inc., also known as PMI Foods-USA; Cottonwood Trading, LLC; Fortuna Foods, LLC, John and Jane Does 1-10, Defendants-Appellees, No. 16-4136, 2017 WL 6614466 (10th Cir. December 28, 2017), plaintiff sued his former employer, a meat exporter, under the False Claims Act. Plaintiff alleged the company avoided paying an obligation owed to the government when it smuggled beef into Japan and China. Suit was dismissed and plaintiff appealed. Appellate court affirmed, finding there was “no established duty” for exporter to pay government for inspection of beef it allegedly smuggled into those countries.


H.R. 4749: To amend the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 to establish a program to enhance transparency and traceability of food products and ingredients that are exported to the United States in order to protect American consumers. Bill’s text is now available.

H.R. 2504: To ensure fair treatment in licensing requirements for the export of certain echinoderms. Bill’s text for status Reported by House Committee (Jan 10, 2018) is now available.

S. 1285: Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act. Bill’s text for status Reported by House Committee (Jan 10, 2018) is now available.

H.R. 4760: To amend the immigration laws and the homeland security laws. Bill referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, House Committee on Armed Services, and 8 other committees.

S. 2292: A bill to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit oil and gas preleasing, leasing, and related activities in certain areas of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Florida. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

H.R. 4751: To reauthorize the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977. Bill referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

S. 2290: A bill to improve wildfire management operations and the safety of firefighters and communities with the best available technology. Bill referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

REGULATORY: Includes USDA, Commerce, EPA, FS, and USPTO rules and notices.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Rule provides summary descriptions of the significant and not significant regulatory and deregulatory actions being developed in agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in conformance with Executive Orders (E.O.) 12866 “Regulatory Planning and Review,” 13771 “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” 13777 “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” and 13563 “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.” Info here.

COMMERCE DEPARTMENT: Rule that Commerce, in the spring and fall of each year, publishes in the Federal Register an agenda of regulations under development or review over the next 12 months. Rulemaking actions are grouped according to prerulemaking, proposed rules, final rules, long-term actions, and rulemaking actions completed since the spring 2017 agenda. Info here.


Rule the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has submitted updated regulations for receiving delegation of the EPA authority for implementation and enforcement of National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) for all sources. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to approve State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the state of Montana on September 11, 2013. Info here.


Notice the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) will meet in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Board is established consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, the National Forest Management Act of 1976, and the Federal Public Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Info here.

Notice the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule Committee will meet in Washington, DC. Info here.

PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE: Rule USPTO published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2015 a final rule, which became effective on July 11, 2015, revising the Trademark Rules of Practice. This document reinstates three paragraphs, which were inadvertently deleted as a result of an error in the amendatory instructions. Info here.