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 and climate change issues.

Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, et al, No. CV 17-8587-GW(ASx), 2018 WL 3004594 (C.D. Cal. June 8, 2018) concerned the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875, wherein plaintiff challenged Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision-making related to a water supply project (Cadiz) involving construction of a pipeline “within existing rights of way granted to the Arizona and California Railroad Company (ARZC).” BLM claimed court lacked jurisdiction and that plaintiffs failed to state a claim. Court observed plaintiffs must show “substantial evidence of a causal relationship” between BLM’s actions and Cadiz’s pursuit of the pipeline project. Here, BLM issued a letter concluding that “authorization [of the Project] by the BLM is unnecessary,” and plaintiffs argued BLM’s issuance of the letter was “arbitrary and capricious” and in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Court agreed with plaintiffs and denied defendant’s motion to dismiss.

In SAN JUAN CITIZENS ALLIANCE, WILDEARTH GUARDIANS, AMIGOS BRAVOS, DINE CITIZENS AGAINS RUINING OUR ENVIRONMENT, and SIERRA CLUB, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, SALLY JEWELL, in her official capacity as United States Secretary of the Interior, UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, and TOM VILSACK, in his Official capacity as United States Secretary of Agriculture; Defendants, No. 16-cv-376-MCA-JHR, 2018 WL 2994406 (D.N.M. June 14, 2018), plaintiffs claimed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) violations and challenged decision by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service (FS) to lease thirteen parcels of federal mineral estate in the Santa Fe National Forest. Plaintiffs argued BLM failed to “take a hard look at the impacts of granting the leases on greenhouse emissions and climate change.” Court concluded BLM’s “failure to estimate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions which will result from consumption of the oil and gas produced as a result of development of wells on the leased areas was arbitrary.” Remanded to BLM for further analysis.

REGULATORY: Includes USDA, APHIS, ERS, EPA, FWS, and NOAA rules and notices.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT: Rule that a number of federal departments and agencies revised to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, which each department and agency adopted into regulations in its part of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). USDA is adopting the proposals described in the April 20, 2018 NPRM. This rule delays the general compliance date for the 2018 Requirements for an additional 6-month period, until January 21, 2019. As a result of this delay, regulated entities will be required, with an exception, to continue to comply with the requirements of the pre-2018 version of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (the “pre-2018 Requirements”) until January 21, 2019. Details here.

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE: Rule amending the regulations governing the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) by updating and clarifying several provisions, including those concerning NPIP participation, voting requirements, testing procedures, and standards. The changes in this final rule were voted on and approved by the voting delegates at the Plan’s 2016 National Plan Conference. Info here.

ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICENotice announces the Economic Research Service’s (ERS) intention to request renewal of approval for an annual information collection on supplemental food security questions in the Current Population Survey (CPS), commencing with the December 2019 survey. These data will be used: to monitor household-level food security and food insecurity in the United States. Details here.


Rule EPA is taking final action to approve revisions to Idaho’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) related to agricultural crop residue burning. Details here.

Rule EPA is proposing to determine that the Hillsborough Area is attaining the 2008 lead NAAQS; to approve the SIP revision containing the State’s maintenance plan for maintaining attainment of the 2008 lead standard and to incorporate the maintenance plan into the SIP; and to redesignate the Hillsborough Area to attainment for the 2008 lead NAAQS. Details here.

Rule notifies the public as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that the EPA Administrator has forwarded to the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) a draft regulatory document concerning “Harmonize 40 CFR 26 Subparts C, D, and K with Subpart A.” Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICENotice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have prepared a draft environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967, as amended, and it’s implementing regulations. Info here.


Rule NMFS announces that the Closed Area I Scallop Access Area is closed to Limited Access General Category Individual Fishing Quota scallop vessels for the remainder of the 2018 fishing year. Details here.

Rule NMFS issues this temporary rule to extend the expiration date of interim measures to reduce overfishing of golden tilefish in Federal waters of the South Atlantic implemented by a temporary rule published by NMFS on January 2, 2018. Info here.