I want to apologize for the lack of blog posts over the last couple of weeks. We had a death in our family and have been dealing with all that goes with that situation. I hope to be back in the saddle with posts back to normal next week. For now, here are a look at some of the ag law stories in the news this last week of April.
* WOTUS Ruling Not Coming Anytime Soon. Ag Professional recently published an article discussing the likely timeline for a decision on the numerous pending legal challenges to the EPA’s new “Waters of the United States” definition regarding the Clean Water Act. There are numerous issues involved in the cases being decided, including what court has the proper jurisdiction to hear the challenge, and whether the rule is unconstitutionally broad and vague. Many legal scholars also seem to think it likely that the dispute may end up before the United States Supreme Court before all is said and done. [Read article here.]
* Texas Groundwater District Denies Application for Water Transfer. The Middle Pecos Groundwater District voted last week to indefinitely table a permit request filed by Republic Water Company who would serve as the middle man between water rights owner, Fort Stockton Holdings, and an interested buyer, the City of Odessa. Currently, a lawsuit filed by Fort Stockton Holdings is pending against the District after a similar request was denied in 2011. It was this pending litigation, board members say, that required them not to take action on the current request. Fort Stockton Holdings was not happy with this decisions, and a spokesman said the company would have dropped the pending suit if this permit was approved. [Read article here.]
* Supreme Court Ruled for Montana in Water Law Dispute. In March, the United States Supreme Court sided with Montana over Wyoming in a dispute over water on the Tongue and Powder Rivers. Previously, a trial was held before a Court-appointed Special Master who found that Wyoming did, in fact, violate the Compact. The Court upheld the Special Master’s findings. At issue in this dispute is Montana’s claim that Wyoming violated a 1950’s Compact by withdrawing too much water from the rivers. The case will now be sent back to the Special Master to calculate damages owed. [Read article here.]
* EPA’s Anti-Ag Billboards Have Been Removed. You may remember from this prior blog post that the EPA recently funded an anti-agriculture billboard campaign in Washington State. [Read article here.]