Happy Friday! This week I enjoyed the opportunity to travel to Floydata and visit with producers at their ag field day about one of my favorite things…agricultural law hot topics. To those of you joining from that meeting, welcome! Here are some of the major ag law stories in the news this week.
* Congress Passes GMO Labeling Law. Last week, Congress passed a federal law that will impose federal standards on the labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients. [Read bill text here.] The law will pre-empt state-level measures to do the same, such as the labeling law passed by Vermont that became effective earlier this month. The bill is now on the desk of President Obama, who is expected to sign. [Read articles here and here.]
* Draft Report from Texas v. New Mexico Litigation. As I mentioned last week, the Special Master in the Supreme Court case involving a dispute between Texas and New Mexico. I was able to locate a copy of the lengthy report. [Read entire report here.] The Special Master recommends that the Court deny New Mexico’s Motion to Dismiss, and would find that Texas has stated a claim based upon the unambiguous language of the Compact, the purpose of the Compact, and the Equitable Apportionment Doctrine. Further, the report recommends that while the United States should be permitted to intervene as a party to the case, motions to intervene filed by the Elephant Butte Irrigation District and the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 should be denied. The Las Cruces-Sun News recently published a lengthy article discussing the ligation, current status, and possible impacts. [Read article here.]
* Free Teleconference “United States Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes: Impacts for Agricultural Attorneys.” The American Agricultural Law Association is hosting a free teleconference open to anyone interested next Thursday, July 28, 2016. The call will be at 12 noon, CST and will feature counsel from the case discussing the Clean Water Act, the case itself and its potential future impact on agriculture. To participate in the call, simply dial in to 415-762-9988 or 646-568-7788 or join by computer with this link and meeting id: https://zoom.us/j/4846414909 (Meeting id: 484614909). This is our inaugural teleconference and this is a series we hope to continue if we are successful!