Environmental Agriculture

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EPA Describes New Registration as Safer for Bees

On January 21, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is registering a new insecticide, flupyradifurone, which EPA claims is “safer for bees” and will be “an alternative to more toxic products...more

Ruling Applies RCRA to Dairy Practices for the First Time

Community Ass’n for Restoration of the Envt. v. Cow Palace, The Dolsen Companies, and Three D, Case No. 13-3016 (E.D. Wash.) On January 14, 2015, Judge Thomas O. Rice of the Eastern District of Washington ruled that...more

EPA’s Recently Released Revised Human Health Risk Assessment for Chlorpyrifos Reflects New Implementation of EPA Policy

The spray drift and volatilization policies were discussed in an October 2014 webinar and discussed in our September 17, 2014, memorandum. EPA’s Revised Risk Assessment Methods for Workers, Children of Workers in Agricultural...more

Federal Court Ruling Expands RCRA Authority By Declaring Manure A RCRA Solid Waste

On January 14, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington granted summary judgment in a case against a dairy farm and declared manure from the farm’s livestock is a solid waste under the Resource...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court: Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage for Well Contamination Resulting from the Application of Manure and...

In Wilson Mutual Ins. Co. v. Robert Falk and Jane Falk, 2013AP691 & 2013AP776, and Preisler v. Kuettel’s Septic Serv., 2012AP2521, the Wisconsin Supreme Court sought to resolve conflicting court of appeals’ decisions on...more

USDA Revises Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees

On December 29, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the final rule for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP is intended to help mainly businesses, as well as some state, local, and tribal...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds Pollution Exclusion Applicable to Cow Manure Claims

In its recent decision in Wilson Mut. Ins. Co. v. Falk, 2014 WI 136, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had occasion had occasion to consider whether cow manure generated at a dairy farm, and which migrates from the insured’s...more

Conservation Easements Are Not Required As Mitigation For Permanent Loss Of Farmland

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, the California Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the County of Fresno’s adoption of an Environmental Impact Report for a mining operation that will result in a permanent...more

Fresno County Aggregate Mine Fends Off Court Challenge

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, No. F068818 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist., Dec. 8, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld Fresno County’s (County) approval of the Carmelita Mine and Reclamation Project...more

Fifth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to Fresno County Aggregate Mine Project EIR In Partially Published Decision, Clarifies State...

In a lengthy, 65-page opinion filed December 8, 2014 (of which fully two-thirds was unpublished), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Fresno County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the EIR, Conditional Use...more

USDA Announces More Than $9 Million In Grants To Producers And Researchers

On December 2, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced over $9 million in grants to support advanced biofuel production and the bioeconomy. More than $5 million in grants awarded to 220 producers nationwide are...more

Court Holds Small Business Administration and Farm Service Agency Must Consult on Loan Guarantees

A federal district court in Arkansas recently issued a decision clarifying that the obligation to consult under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) extends to the Small Business Administration and the Farm...more

The Great East/West Divide

I was honored to address the recent annual meeting of the American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) in Reno, Nevada. Coming out west serves as a reminder of the chasm that exists between those Americans who earn...more

Improving Australian Agricultural Competitiveness

The Commonwealth Government has released its Green Paper exploring a range of policy options to expand the competitiveness of the Australian agriculture sector and its share of the global market. The Green Paper serves...more

USDA Announces Release of Report Charting Path to Commercialization of Cellulosic Nanomaterials

On November 24, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has released a report that details the pathway to commercializing affordable, renewable, and biodegradable...more

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Announces Small Business Awards

On November 12, 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy held a press conference to announce the recipients of the Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards. In her comments, Administrator McCarthy stated that "a...more

Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments, 11/14

EPA Proposes To Remove 72 Chemicals From Approved Pesticide Inert Ingredients List: On October 22, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested public comment on a proposal to remove 72 chemicals from its...more

Beveridge & Diamond Wins Preemption Decision in Washington State Court of Appeals

Appellate litigators in Beveridge & Diamond’s District of Columbia office, working with the Washington Department of Ecology, secured a unanimous decision from the Washington Court of Appeals striking down a county ban on...more

Appalachian Biofuels LLC To Locate Headquarters In Virginia

On October 29, 2014, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) announced that Appalachian Biofuels LLC will invest about $3.5 million to establish its headquarters and an enzymatic biodiesel production facility in St. Paul,...more

Do Takes of the Utah Prairie Dog Affect Interstate Commerce? Only When McDonalds Starts Serving Prairie Burgers

Earlier this week, in a suit brought by the beautifully named People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, Judge Dee Benson ruled that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service could not regulate takes of the Utah...more

Court Holds Congress Lacks Power to Regulate Take of Intrastate Species that Has No Substantial Effect on Commerce

On November 4th, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah invalidated the special rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regulating take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a species that only...more

Why Plant Patenting Floats Free of GMO Crop Controversies

Public debates about the merits of genetically modified crops often end in polarized shouting matches. They pit so-called “romantic environmentalists” against scientifically-minded advocates for companies that derive their...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: Federal Appeals Court rejects challenge to new highway linking LA and Long Beach - Courthouse News Service - Oct 31: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling...more

USDA Proposes Amended Guidelines For Biobased Products For Federal Procurement

On October 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed to amend the regulations for the Voluntary Labeling Program for Biobased Products under USDA's BioPreferred Program. As explained in the Federal Register...more

The State and Local Regulatory Landscape for Bioengineered Plants

Across the country, numerous state and local governments have enacted or are considering laws affecting the cultivation, use, and labeling of genetically engineered plants (“GMOs”). These laws are best described in three...more

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