Here are some of the agricultural law stories in the news this last week of September.
* Judge Certifies Nationwide Class of Producer Plaintiffs in Syngenta Corn Case. I am working on a more detailed blog post about this decision and what it means for corn farmers across the US, but for now, to view a copy of the court’s order, click here.
* Federal Court of Appeals Vacates Guidance Requiring Fertilizer Companies to Comply with Hazardous Chemical Regulations. Last year, OSHA issued a “guidance” that required fertilizer facilities carrying anhydrous ammonia to comply with stringent regulations applicable to “hazardous chemicals.” The guidance was issued in 2015 after the explosion in West, Texas. In a case challenging procedural issues, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that OSHA failed to abide by proper procedural standards in issuing the guidance and vacated the guidance. In order to pass a new standard like this, OSHA was required to comply with necessary notice and comment requirements required by law. Importantly, the court did not comment on the substance of the rule itself, or whether the “hazardous chemicals” rule should apply to anhydrous ammonia, only that OSHA failed to follow the proper steps to pass the rule. OSHA could appeal the ruling, could start the process over and comply with the procedural requirements the court found lacking, or could drop the issue. Time will tell. [Read opinion here.]
* Scientists Studying Possible Irrigation from Produced Water from Oil and Gas. Science Daily reports that scientists in Colorado and New Mexico are investigating the possibility of using water produced during oil and gas extraction to irrigate crops. Proponents are hopeful this could be a win-win situation for both agriculture and the oil and gas industry, allowing additional water available for irrigation and offering an alternative to injection wells for the production companies. [Read article here.]
*Free Farm Labor Webinar Series Continues Next Wednesday. The final webinar in the three-part employment law series hosted by the University of Maryland and presented by Oklahoma State University will be this Wednesday at 2:00 CST. The webinar is free and will cover handling change with your employees. I am excited to be presenting a small part of the material next week. [For more info & to register, click here.]