September 15, 2017 Weekly Round Up

It has been a bit of a crazy week around here and I apologize to anyone who has called or emailed and not gotten a quick response from me.  On Monday, my two year old landed in the hospital after fighting a nasty stomach virus for two weeks.  He is home and doing much better now, but as you can imagine, work got put on the back burner.  I am back in the saddle now and here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week.

*Number of Dicamba lawsuits continue to rise.  Earlier this week, I was interviewed by Chris Bennett with Farm Journal to discuss numerous lawsuits filed across the country related to the use of Dicamba to spray soybeans and cotton. Chris’ article outlines a number of those cases and looks forward to what may happen next from a legal standpoint.  [Read article here.]

*Article outlines issues with New Mexico Augustin Plains Ranch water pipeline proposal.  A recent article discusses a controversial proposed pipeline project in New Mexico.  Absentee landowners (Italian investors) of the 18,000 acre Augustin Plains Ranch seeks a permit from the NM State Engineer to pump 54,000 acre feet per year from their property in rural Catron County to serve needs of Albuquerque residents.  The project would include drilling 37 new groundater wells and building a 140 mile pipeline.  Many other Catron County residents oppose the project, concerned that their shallow aquifer will go dry, jeopardizing their livelihood based on agriculture in the rural part of the state.  The project manager of Augustin Plains Ranch states that the company will compensate neighbors if their water levels drop after the project is built.  Previously, in 2014, the State Engineer denied Augustin Plains Ranch’s initial petition, citiing the lack of details usch as where the water would be used, for what purpose, and by whom.  Augustin Plains Ranch resubmitted with additional detail this time around, but still has not identiifeid the end purchase of the water. [Read article here.]

*EPA to host WOTUS stakeholder sessions.  The Environmental Protection Agency will host a series of stakeholder input teleconferences in the coming weeks to allow citizens to provide input on how the definition of “Waters of the United States” pursuant to the Clean Water Act should be defined.  Each session has a different topic focus, with agriculture being set for October 17.  The teleconferences will allow registered participants to offer comments up to three minutes on the rule.  Additionally, interested persons may submit written comments as well through September 27.  To date, over 144,000 comments have been received.  [Read article here.]



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