Environmental Agriculture

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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

BRAG Petitions EPA for Biodiesel Products Exemptions Already Granted to Petroleum Products

On October 21, 2014, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®) submitted two petitions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting that biodiesel fuel manufacturers be granted the same...more

DOE Announces Funding For Landscape Design For Sustainable Bioenergy Systems

The Bioenergy Technologies Office within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), "Landscape Design for Sustainable Bioenergy Systems."...more

Energy & Environment Update - October 2014 #3

In This Issue: - Energy and Climate Debate - Congress - Administration - Department of Agriculture - Department of Commerce - Department of Energy - Environmental Protection...more

ML Strategies Energy and Environment Update: Week of 10/20/2014

ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE - With just over two weeks until election day, Congress is preparing for a brief but intense Lame Duck session, while continuing final campaign pushes. With several races still in the...more

EPA Draft Ruling Could Mean Significant Changes to How Stormwater Systems are Categorized

The last thing that public agency leaders want to hear is that looming changes may make operating and building new public infrastructure more challenging and expensive. Unfortunately, proposed changes by the Environmental...more

“Why Biobased?” Report Released by USDA

On October 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released "Why Biobased?," a report that comprehensively synthesizes findings from the existing government, academia, and non-governmental organizations on...more

Texas Supreme Court Declines to Address Recovery for Stigma Damages in the Absence of a Permanent Physical Injury to Property

In a closely watched case, the Texas Supreme Court recently declined to address the issue of a right to recover damages for “stigma” in the absence of a permanent physical injury to property. (Houston Unlimited, Inc. v. Mel...more

Biobased Mulch Added To USDA National Organic Program

USDA has amended the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances maintained by the National Organic Program (NOC) to allow biodegradable biobased mulch film to be used in organic production with restrictive...more

Wal-Mart And Target Host Beauty And Personal Care Products Sustainability Summit

Target and Wal-Mart hosted the first ever Beauty and Personal Care Products Sustainability Summit on September 4, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. Target has seen sales of natural and organic products in the beauty and personal...more

USDA awards $68 million for energy projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $68 million in grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The latest round of awards under the agency's Rural Development arm's Rural...more

Growing Michigan - Third Quarter 2014

In This Issue: - Food and Drug Administration Not Required to Ban Antibiotics Given to Food-Producing Animals - U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Crop Insurance under 2014 Farm Bill -...more

Food and Drug Administration Not Required to Ban Antibiotics Given to Food-Producing Animals

A federal appeals court recently ruled that the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") does not have to ban the practice of feeding antibiotics to healthy, food-producing animals. This ruling is controversial because of public...more

DOE Announces Funding Opportunity For Targeted Algal Biofuels And Bioproducts

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $25 million in funding to reduce the cost of algal biofuels to less than $5 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) by 2019. On behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office...more

Researchers Develop Technique For Turning Winery Waste Into Biofuels

Winery waste is composed of the skins, pulp, stalks, and seeds that are left over after grapes have been pressed. This waste cannot be used for animal feed or composted, so it typically ends up as toxic landfill. Researchers...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Maine Senate Confirms 50 of 51 Gubernatorial Nominees - On September 30th, the Maine...more

No Michigan Wolf Hunt for 2014

The Michigan Natural Resource Commission recently decided that it will not hold a wolf hunt this year, even if voters approve two referendums on the November 4 ballot permitting wolf hunting. The November 4 referendums ask...more

Proposed MAEAP Rules Narrow “Right to Farm” Protection

Proposed rule changes in the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) have excluded some farmers from MAEAP verification and protection....more

Secretary Vilsack Confirms Administration Support For Biofuel Production Level

Last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke at a biofuel industry conference and addressed concerns raised over the likelihood that the final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule would...more

USDA Invests $68 Million In 540 Renewable Energy And Energy Efficiency Projects

On September 18, 2014, Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA is investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. This is the most recent in a series of USDA actions designed to help...more

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