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

                                                                                                                                               

JUDICIAL: Includes CWA

In Conservation Law Found. v. Logwood Venues & Destinations, Inc., No. 18-11821-WGY, 2019 WL 6318530 (D. Mass. Nov. 26, 2019) the court considered whether the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) regulates discharges of pollutants into groundwater than then flows into navigable waters. Ultimately, the court concluded that the CWA did not regulate such discharges, finding that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) analysis that the CWA did not regulate discharges into groundwater was a reasonable interpretation of the statute. The plaintiffs in this case brought suit against owners of a resort complex that treated its wastewater at a facility located on the resort property. Treated wastewater from the facility seeped out of underground leach pits, entered the groundwater, and finally made its way into the ocean. The defendants did not have a CWA discharge permit. The plaintiffs brought suit, arguing the CWA regulates discharges of pollutants into groundwater when the groundwater serves as a conduit to carry the pollutant to a traditionally navigable water. The defendants did not dispute that the pollutants from their facility had seeped into the groundwater, but argued that such discharges were not covered by the CWA because the pollutants were discharged into groundwater not a traditionally navigable waterway. In reaching its opinion, the court noted that the text of the CWA was extremely ambiguous with regard to discharges into groundwater. Because the statute is so ambiguous, the court determined that it would give deference to any reasonable interpretation of the act that EPA came up with. While the litigation of this case was on-going, EPA published an analysis concluding that discharges of pollutants into groundwater were not covered by the CWA. Because the court felt that this was a reasonable interpretation of the CWA, it gave deference to EPA and found in favor of the defendants.

REGULATORY: Includes AMS, FCIC, FWS, FSIS, NOAA

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE

Final Rule decreasing the assessment rate for Washington sweet cherries. Info here.

FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE CORPORATION

Final Rule amending the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Coarse Grains Crop Insurance Provisions. Info here.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Proposed rule to remove the Nashville crayfish from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Info here.

Proposed rule to remove Bradshaw’s lomatium from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Info here.

FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE

Final Rule removing lists of foreign countries eligible to export meat, poultry, and egg products to the United States. Info here.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION

Extension of public comment period on the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Central America, Mexico, and Western North Pacific distinct population segments of humpback whales. Info here.

Temporary rule apportioning amounts of the non-specified reserve, to the initial total allowable catch of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands sculpins and to the total allowable catch of various Aleutian Islands fish species. Info here.

Inseason Reapportionment announcing the reapportionment of 40,000 metric tons of Pacific whiting from the tribal allocation to the non-tribal commercial fishery sectors. Info here.

STATUTORY: Includes Wisconsin State law

WISCONSION

SB 169 renumbers, amends, and creates sections of existing statutes relating to wetland mitigation banks. Info here.

SB 219 amends and creates sections of existing statutes relating to the agricultural development loan guarantee program administered by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Info here.