Agriculture Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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No Bull: Santa Cruz County Rodeo Qualifies for CEQA Exemption

In Citizens for Environmental Responsibility v. State of California ex rel. 14th District Agricultural Association, et al. (3rd App. Dist., March 26, 2014), the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision to exempt a...more

Real World Implications of Forest Service’s New Process for Finalizing Records Of Decision

About a year ago, the Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a final rule establishing a ?new and exclusive process for filing objections to certain proposed National Forest Service (“NFS”) ?projects and activities (78...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update

Environmental and Policy Focus - DWR must acquire properties before testing tunnel for diversion of water to Southern California - CourtHouse News - Mar 17: A California appellate court ruled last week that, before...more

Texas Environmental Update - February 14, 2014

We are pleased to provide you with this issue of Bracewell's Texas Environmental Update, offering the latest news about permitting, enforcement, regulatory developments, and other matters of interest to the regulated...more

Draft GAPP Public Comments Due February 21, 2014

The Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development are accepting public comments until February 21, 2014 on the 2014 drafts of Michigan's Generally...more

New Law Eliminates Any Clean Water Act NPDES Permit Requirement For Logging Road Stormwater Runoff

On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed into law the 2014 Farm Bill, H.R. 2642. Section 12313 of the Bill (Silvicultural Activities) amends the Clean Water Act to make clear that a National Pollutant Discharge...more

Michigan Department Of Ag Looks To Limit Scope Of Right To Farm Act

Now: Currently, commercial farms are protected from local regulation, including zoning restrictions. The existing "Site Selection" GAAMPs, which generally require large livestock production facilities to be located in...more

Fish and Wildlife Service’s Proposal to List Lesser Prairie Chicken as “Threatened” Could Have Impact on Industries

On December 11, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced a proposed rule to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken (LEPC) as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). The LEPC is a ground-dwelling...more

Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Proposed EPA Water Rule Could Expand Regulatory Authority Over Streams and Wetlands - USDA Finalizes Import Regulations for "Mad Cow Disease" - Organic Farmers Effected by Farm Bill Extension...more

DEQ Proposes Wetland General Permit For Blueberry Farming, Public Comment Period Now Open

On December 30, 2013, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ("DEQ") publicly noticed a proposed general permit category for activities in wetlands. The activity involves blueberry farming and it -- at long-last --...more

Virginia Environmental Regulatory Developments (November 2013)

STATE AIR POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD - A. Proposed Regulations - 1. 9VAC5-130. Regulation for Open Burning (Rev. E12) (amending 9VAC5-130-10 through 9VAC5-130-50, 9VAC5-130-100; repealing 9VAC5-130-60)....more

GMO Laws Take Root in Hawai‘i

Recently, two counties in the State of Hawai‘i passed laws that restrict the growth and cultivation of genetically modified crops (“GMO”). Kaua‘i County passed Bill 2491 after overriding a mayoral veto on November 16, 2013....more

Oregon Court Limits Agri-tourism at Farm Stands

A land use decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals could impact farm marketing activities across the state, imposing new permitting requirements and forcing changes to business operations. The case, Greenfield v....more

McAfee & Taft AgLINC - Fall 2013: More than just a handshake - Due diligence, purchase contract required for real estate purchases

In western Oklahoma, where this author was born and raised, a handshake is often all that takes place to solidify a deal for the sale or purchase of a piece of land. The need for a purchase contract or anything other than a...more

Public Interest in Renewable Energy May Outweigh the Purpose of the Williamson Act; Cancellation of Williamson Act Contracts May...

After a Central Valley county cancelled Williamson Act contracts on ranchland to make way for a solar energy plant, several environmental groups sued challenging the County’s decision. The trial court found against the...more

US federal agencies to seek expanded Clean Water Act regulatory jurisdiction over aggregate mines and farmlands

The US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) are poised to propose a new rule that would significantly expand their regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. While many...more

Georgia DNR Board To Consider Increases To CAFO Permitting Thresholds

The board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will consider changes to rules for permit requirements for swine feeding operations. The most significant change proposed is to increase the threshold for triggering...more

The Answer, My Friend, Is Not Blowin’ In The Wind: Waste From CAFO Ventilation Fans Does Not Require an NPDES Permit

Earlier this year, in her aptly named post “What the Cluck?”, Patricia Finn Braddock, noted that a state court in North Carolina had held that wastes from poultry farms, blown by ventilators from confinement houses and then...more

Urban Renewal Once Again on Legislative Agenda

While January 8, 2014, the date on which the General Assembly convenes, is still several months away, legislators are already working on the bills they plan to introduce in this legislative session. As has been the case...more

Bidding on State Land Trust Leases: Even the Top Revenue-Generating Bids Must be Balanced Against Qualitative “Best Use” Factors...

The Court of Appeals recently held that that the Commissioner of the State Land Trust Department properly balanced Wildearth Guardians, Inc.’s higher revenue-generating bid against “best use” qualitative factors set forth in...more

Texas Water Wars: Texas v. New Mexico

Learn more about a lawsuit between the states regarding the waters of the Rio Grande River that is creating serious controversy between the two states and may be decided by the United States Supreme Court. This article is...more

Hydraulic Fracking and the Battle Over Beneficial Water Use in California: The Next Phase of Fracking Litigation in California

The competition between agriculture, energy, domestic and environmental interests for water in California is fierce and is about to become more contentious. In a “wet year,” the demand for water from these interests may...more

Reeves v. Hooton: Texas Right to Farm Act Inapplicable

The Tyler Court of Appeals recently upheld a jury verdict that deemed the Texas Right to Farm Act inapplicable in a case involving the use of a propane cannon. The jury found insufficient evidence that the farmer's use of...more

Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Bragg: A Summary for Non-Attorneys

The Texas Supreme Court's ruling in Bragg makes clear that, at least in some circumstances, a groundwater conservation district's denial or limitation of a permit seeking to pump groundwater for irrigation can constitute a...more

Use of Agricultural Conservation Easements Must Be Considered In Mitigating Loss of Prime Farmland To Development

A sand and gravel quarry was proposed for a site containing 45 acres of prime farmland. The Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) analyzing the development concluded that obtaining perpetual agricultural conservation easements...more

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