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

JUDICIAL: Includes environmental, water law, and CAFO issues.

PORTLAND PIPE LINE CORPORATION, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF SOUTH PORTLAND, et al., Defendants, 2:15–cv–00054–JAW, 2017 WL 6757556 (D. Me. December 29, 2017) involved a pipeline operator’s fight over a local ordinance prohibiting loading crude oil onto tankers and new structures used for such a practice. Pipeline company moved for summary judgment, arguing the law was preempted under federal and state laws, that it violates the Commerce Clause, and the City’s own comprehensive plan. Court denied summary judgment regarding Commerce Clause issues, but granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment concerning as to the federal and state preemption questions and due process.

In EUREKA COUNTY; Diamond Natural Resources Protection & Conservation Association; Jason King, P.E., Nevada State Engineer, Division of Water Resources, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Baumann Family Trust; Burnham Farms, LLC; Galen Byler; Marian Byler; Conley Land & Livestock, LLC; Damele Farms, Inc.; Diamond Valley Hay Company, Inc.; Fred L. Etchegaray; John J. Etchegaray; Mary Jean Etchegaray; LW & MJ Etchegaray Family Trust; Eureka Management Co., Inc.; Gallagher Farms LLC; Jayme L. Halpin; Sandi Halpin; Tim Halpin; High Desert Hay, LLC; J&T Farms, LLC; J.W.L. Properties, LLC; Mark Moyle Farms LLC; J.R. Martin Trust; Cheryl Morrison; Matt Morrison; Debra L. Newton; William H. Norton; Patricia Norton; D.F. & E.M. Palmore Family Trust; Stewardship Farming, LLC; Scott Bell; Kristina Bell; Don Bergner; Linda Bergner; James Etcheverry; Michel and Margaret Ann Etcheverry Family Limited Partnership; Mark T. and Jennifer R. Etcheverry Family Trust; Martin P. and Kathleen A. Etcheverry Family Trust; Lavon Miller; Kristi Miller; Lynford Miller; Susan Miller; Alberta Morrison; and Donald Morrison, Petitioners, v. The SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT of the State of Nevada, IN AND FOR the COUNTY OF EUREKA; and the Honorable Gary Fairman, District Judge, Respondents, and Sadler Ranch, LLC; Roger Allen; and Judith Allen, Real Parties in Interest, No. 72317, 407 P.3d 755 (Nev. December 28, 2017), County filed petition for writ of prohibition, challenging denial of a motion filed by State Engineer claiming that “junior water rights holders were entitled to notice and an opportunity to participate in court’s consideration of vested, senior water rights holder’s curtailment request.” State Supreme Court granted plaintiff’s petition, finding that County’s petition for a writ of mandamus was the “appropriate avenue through which to seek relief,” and that due process required “junior water rights holders be given notice and an opportunity to participate.”

In House of Prayer Ministries, Inc. d/b/a Harvest Christian Camp, Appellant-Petitioner, v. Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals, Appellee-Respondent, Milco Dairy Farm, LLC, Appellee-Intervenor, No. 21A01-1707-MI-1693, 2018 WL 414862 (Ind. Ct. App. January 16, 2018), a trial court granted a dairy farm special exception to operate a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). Plaintiff, a Christian ministry group, appealed on a number of grounds, including the argument that the exception “violated House of Prayer’s religious rights under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, (RLUIPA) and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Appellate court concluded that plaintiff’s exercise of religion “has not been and will not be substantially burdened under Indiana’s RFRA.” Trial court decision affirmed.


H.R. 4793: To make continuing appropriations for military pay in the event of a shutdown of the Federal Government. Bill referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.

H.R. 4797: To amend title 54, United States Code, to prohibit the extension or establishment of national monuments in Arizona except by express authorization of Congress. Bill referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

H.J.Res. 125: Making an extension of continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2018. Resolution referred to the House Committee on Appropriations, House Committee on Ways and Means, and one other committee.

H.R. 1107: Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act. Bill passed in the House on January 16, 2018 and goes to the Senate next for consideration.

H.R. 1532: Poarch Band of Creek Indians Land Reaffirmation Act. On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.

REGULATORY: Includes BSEE, EPA, FS, and NOAA rules and notices.

BUREAU OF SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENTRule adjusts the level of the maximum civil monetary penalty contained in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) regulations pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYRule that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), requires that the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan include a list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants throughout the United States. Info here.

FOREST SERVICE: Notice the Bridger-Teton Nation Forest (BTNF) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to disclose the effects of continued control of noxious and other invasive plants through the integration of manual, mechanical, biological, and ground and aerial herbicide control methods. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION: Rule NMFS is correcting a temporary rule that published on December 20, 2017, adjusting the 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. One table in the document contained an error. Info here.