We’ve made it to July! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.
*Texas Supreme Court rules Texas Central Railroad has eminent domain authority for high speed rail project. In a 6-3 ruling, the Texas Supreme Court has found that Texas Central Railroad does have eminent domain authority for its high speed rail project from Dallas to Houston. [Find opinions here.] I’ll have a full blog post breaking down this decision next week. In the next month, I’ll also have a podcast episode with Luke Ellis looking at this decision as well as the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling in Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline. Meanwhile, just weeks before the decision was announced, Texas Central’s CEO announced he was resigning. [Read article here.]
*US Supreme Court limits EPA authority under the Clean Air Act. I’ll have a blog post on this decision coming soon, but my friend Brianna Schroeder wrote a good, short summary on the West Virginia v. EPA decision on her blog here.
*US Supreme Court denies Petition for Certiorari in Montana Beef Checkoff case. Last week, the United States Supreme Court denied R-Calf’s Petition for Certiorari in Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America v. Vilsack. You may recall that this lawsuit challenged the legality of the beef checkoff in Montana and several other states, including Texas. In 2020, the US District Court for the District of Montana dismissed the case. [Read blog post here.] In June of last year, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. [Read opinion here.] Still in play is a second lawsuit filed by R-Calf challenging the USDA’s memorandums of understanding with various of the qualified state beef councils. In September of 2021, the US District Court for the District of Columbia denied the USDA’s Motion to Dismiss this lawsuit, and it remains pending.
*Solicitor General files amicus brief supporting American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers in Proposition 12 case. You may recall that the US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a legal challenge to California’s Proposition 12, which requires all pork sold in California to meet with certain production standards. [Read blog post here.] In recent weeks, the United States Solicitor General has filed an amicus brief supporting AFBF and NPP. Specifically, the brief argues that California has not articulated genuine health and safety concerns. “States may not otherwise regulate out-of-state entities by banning products that pose no threat to public health or safety based on philosophical objections to out-of-state production methods or public policies that have no impact in the regulating State.” [Read brief here and article here.]
*Blog series on food labeling claims. Our friends at the National Agricultural Law Center are currently in the midst of a multi-part blog series on food labeling claims. I’ve learned a lot reading these posts. Thus far, the series has focused on FDA regulations, FSIS regulations for meat and poultry, eggs and dairy, and regulation of advertisements. I previously recorded a podcast episode on food law, including labeling, with my friend Alli Condra.
*”Big Life Changes Often Mean Big Estate Plan Changes” My friend, Cari Rincker, recently published a blog post highlighting several big life changes that will likely result in the need to make changes or updates to your estate plan. [Read article here.] It is not always easy to remember to update your estate plan during these times, which is why I always recommend an annual review of your plan in order to really focus on any events that have occurred or changes that may be needed to the plan.
I am gearing up for a busy July. On Monday, July 11, I’ll be speaking via Zoom to the Brazos Valley Cattle Women meeting in College Station. Then, I’ll be headed west for a meeting in Midkiff on Wednesday the 20th and a Ranchers Breakfast meeting in Kermit on July 21. Later that day on the 21st, I’ll be joining several of the West Region agents for a program on hunting leases. To see my complete schedule, click here.