I kicked off this week bright and early on Monday morning in College Station where I coordinated the Landowner Issues Session at the TAMU Beef Cattle Short Course. It is a great event and we had a huge turn out and great audience questions for our session. In addition to welcoming those of you joining the blog from BCSC, I also want to give a huge thanks to my co-presenters, Luke Ellis and James Decker, who did absolutely outstanding presentations!
Yesterday, I presented a webinar for the TAMU Range and Eco Science Management Department on Ranching in Oil and Gas Country. I’ll get the recording of that presentation posted in the next week or so. Welcome to those of you new to the blog from that webinar!
Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.
President Obama signs GMO labeling bill. President Obama has signed the compromise bill passed by Congress requiring federal labeling standards for foods containing genetically modified ingredients. The bill [read in full here] gives authority to develop the labeling scheme to the USDA, which will have two years to write regulations. One thing the bill clearly does immediately is pre-empt (make null and void) state and local GMO labeling laws, such as the one in Vermont. [Read article here.]
Lesser Prairie Chicken issue far from over. You may recall from this blog post that the Lesser Prairie Chicken was removed from the Endangered Species Act list after a Texas federal court found that the US Fish and Wildlife Service failed to properly consider certain evidence when listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. As I predicted then, the story is far from over. The USFWS issued a press release stating that they are in the process of undertaking a new review to determine if the bird should be listed. Several lawmakers, concerned with this press release, have sent a letter to USFWS questioning their intention. Stay tuned… [Read article here.]
Texas city fighting oil and gas waste disposal site. Nordheim citizens is continuing to oppose a oil and gas waste disposal site planned for their area. The site has been approved–over objections by city residents–by the Texas Railroad Commission. The citizens have now taken the fight to the courthouse, filing suit in Travis County district court, claiming that the RRC erred in approving the project. Although approved by the RRC, at least one commissioner, Ryan Sitton, said he did not like the site, but he had to approve becuase agency experts determined that safeguards were in place to protect groundwater and they could not evaluate any other concerns. The case will be difficult to win, as great deference is given to an agency decision like that of the RRC. [Read article here.]