Manufacturers, processors and formulators of ag chemicals should take note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s January 25 change to its “once in always in” policy will allow facilities that have historically been regulated as “major sources” of hazardous air pollutants to be reclassified as “area” sources if they have reduced their potential to emit to below major source thresholds. Read our Emerging Energy Insights blog post here covering the topic.

Forbes reported on the tension between the meat and plant-based industries.

Beverage Daily discussed Michelob launch of organic grain beer.

CNN reported on Sam’s Club entry into grocery delivery market.

Financial Buzz discussed collaboration between conservationists and agriculture industry on monarch habitats.

The Guardian reported on an EU assessment of the dangers of pesticides to bee populations.

 

Since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, there has been extensive debate over which waters may be regulated as waters of the United States under the act. Yesterday, Bob Wilkinson explained how this issue came to a head in a recent 9th Circuit opinion and how, in response, EPA is requesting comments on whether pollutant discharges from point sources that reach jurisdictional surface waters via groundwater or other subsurface flow with a direct hydrologic connection to the jurisdictional surface water may be subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. This is important to you because farmers, manufacturers, and anyone who conducts activities that release pollutants to groundwater will be affected by whether and how EPA clarifies its position regarding whether these discharges are subject to regulation. Our Environmental team blogged about this topic yesterday, please read more here.

Today, attorney Megan Caldwell blogged about two recent agency enforcement memoranda impacting the enforcement of environmental violations. You can read the blog post here. This is important to you, as it may change your company’s approach to compliance with certain agency guidance documents, as well as your emphasis on relationships with state environmental agencies versus U.S. EPA.

The Pasadena Star discussed a project turning food waste into energy.

Perishable News discussed a new packaging product intended to increase seafood shelf life.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Albertson’s efforts to buy Rite-Aid.

USAgNet reported on response to farm program cuts in White House budget proposal.

Newsweek reported on a pet food recall.

 

On February 17, 2017, and August 21, 2107, we blogged about this case. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has designated certain land in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky frog, even though the frog does not currently inhabit that land and could not survive if it attempted to inhabit it.  By an 8-6 vote, the Fifth Circuit upheld the government’s position.

On January 22, 2108, the Supreme Court granted Weyerhaeuser’s cert. petition.  The petition did not raise any constitutional questions about the scope of the Endangered Species Act, so it is unlikely that the Court will rule on those issues.  It could very well read the statute narrowly to avoid raising constitutional considerations.

On January 16, 2018, we updated our blogging on so-called “ag-gag” laws – statutes designed to prevent undercover recording of unlawful practices on farms and processing centers. On September 15, 2017, we blogged about the Tenth Circuit’s partial overruling of the Utah statute.

The Supreme Court has now denied the cert. petition filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of People.

On February 1, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit issued a stay delaying the implementation of a rule that will require farmers to estimate and report emissions from animal waste. Farmers will now have until at least May 1, 2018 before they are required to report their emissions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Last April, the D.C. Circuit invalidated a rule that exempted livestock operations from reporting emissions of more than 100 pounds per day of either ammonia or hydrogen sulfide under CERCLA. Prior to the court’s decision, only animal feeding operations that qualified as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, were required to report under the emissions reporting rule. Following the effective date of the new rule, an estimated 63,000 small- and medium-sized farms will also be required to estimate and report their emissions.

This is the third stay that the D.C. Circuit has issued at EPA’s request. EPA needs the additional time to inform farmers about the pending rule, provide guidance on calculating emissions, and finalize a reporting form specifically tailored to farmers. It is especially important that farmers understand their obligations under this new rule because, once the court issues the mandate, farmers that fail to report could face fines and suits from citizen groups alleging noncompliance.

Our environmental attorneys can help potentially affected farm owners and operators understand and meet these release reporting requirements. For more information on how these regulations may impact your operation, please contact Robert Wilkinson or Megan McLean of Husch Blackwell’s Environmental team.

Food Quality News discussed a USDA proposal to revise swine inspection rules.

Food Engineering discussed the status of FSMA compliance.

The New York Times reported on the opening of the Amazon Go grocery store.

USAgNet discussed a research program at the University of Colorado designed to increase greenhouse efficiency.

The Financial Buzz reported on a Vancouver based partnership developing hemp infused craft beer.