Welcome to February and Happy Groundhog Day! This week I had some much-needed time in the office and was able to give an online guest lecture to the Ag Leadership class at Mississippi State University, taught by my friend, Dr. Laura Greenhaw. Welcome to any new followers from her class!
Here are some of the major ag law stories in the news this week.
* EPA sets the effective date for 2015 WOTUS rule for 2020. You may remember this prior post where we discussed the US Supreme Court decision that the proper venue for legal challenges to the 2015 WOTUS rule was in district courts, rather than at the appellate level. As we mentioned, that decision put the 6th Circuit nation-wide stay of the 2015 rule in jeopardy and there was concern that, for the first time, the 2015 rule might go into effect in some states. This week, the EPA stepped in and finalized an action setting the effective date for the 2015 rule as 2020. Meanwhile, the EPA will work on drafting and enacting a revised version of the WOTUS definition before 2020 so that the 2015 version never goes into effect. [Read press release here article here.]
* Air emissions reporting requirements for agricultural operations stayed until May 1, 2018. Another update to the issue surrounding when ag operations need to start filing reports if emissions of hydrogen sulfide or ammonia are over 100 pounds in a 24 hour period. As we discussed last April, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an EPA regulation exempting agricultural operations from reporting hazardous substance emissions under CERCLA. The latest news is that the reporting deadline has been stayed until May 1, 2018. I’m working on a blog post explaining all of this in more detail, so be on the lookout for that in the next couple of weeks.
* Secretary Perdue announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018. The USDA has released a document outlining its Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018. Perdue says the principles will be “used as a road map” to let Congress know what agricultural producers are thinking out in the field. As Perdue explained, “While we understand it’s the legislature’s job to write the Farm Bill, USDA will be right there providing whatever counsel Congress may request or require.” [Read press release here.]
* Article regarding dicamba legal issues. Shelley Huguley recently attended a presentation I did on legal issues surrounding dicamba. She wrote up a great article for Southwest Farm Press providing an overview of these issues. [Read article here.]
Programs Next Week
On Tuesday, February 6, I’ll be discussing our Ranchers Leasing Workshop as part of a panel of Outstanding Grant Award Winners at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association meetings in Jacksonville, Florida! It will be a quick trip, as I’ve got to be back on Wednesday, February 7 to speak at the High Plains Irrigation Conference here in Amarillo. Hope to see some of you there!