April 7, 2023 Weekly Round Up

It’s been another busy couple of weeks in the world of agricultural law.

Photo by Marcos Baistrocchi from Pexels

*State of Texas files suit challenging lesser prairie chicken listing.  The State of Texas has filed suit challenging the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as threatened and endangered pursuant to the Endangered Species Act.  The lawsuit claims the listing violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the Endangered Species and the National Environmental Policy Act.  In addition to these claims, the lawsuit alleges that this action “threats to derail” the efforts undertaken by the State and private landowners to voluntarily manage, conserve, and recover the lesser prairie chicken.  The State asks the court to vacate the final rule listing the species.  [Read Complaint here.]

*Congresses passes bill overturning Biden WOTUS Rule; President Biden expected to veto.  The US Congress recently passed a bill overturning the Biden administration’s WOTUS Rule.  [Read post on Rule here.]  President Biden has said he will veto the bill.  [Read article here.]  Currently, the Biden Rule is in effect in 48 states, but not in Texas or Idaho due to an injunction.  [Read prior blog post here.]

*Kentucky federal court dismisses WOTUS challenge.  Speaking of WOTUS, a Kentucky federal court recently dismissed a challenge to the Biden Rule, finding the case was not ripe for review.  Specifically, the court said that the “allegations may very well present a federal cause of action.  But not yet.”  [Read Order here and article here.]

*SCOTUS hears argument in water law case.  The United States Supreme Court heard oral argument last month in an important water law case,  Arizona v. Navajo Nation.  At issue is a 1868 Treaty establishing the Navajo Reservation as a “permanent home” for the tribe, and what obligations exist for the United States to provide water pursuant to this agreement.  The SCOTUS Blog did a great summary of the argument here.  To listen to the argument (starting at 5:20), click here.

*What to consider before signing a forest carbon contract.  I’ve done a lot of work with carbon contracts for farm and rangeland, but I know there are a number of forest landowners also interested in this topic.  Penn State published a great article looking at the considerations a landowner should think through prior to signing a forest carbon contract.  [Read article here.]

*A legacy of kindness. I recently published a short piece for Progressive Farmer reflecting on the importance of kindness and how that can be one’s legacy.  [Read article here.]

Upcoming Presentations

Next week, I’ll be in the Hill Country.  On Thursday, I’ll be presenting on agricultural law at the Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Conference in Kerrville.  Click here for more information.  On Friday, I’ll be in Dripping Springs at our Owning Your Piece of Texas program.  We’ve still got a few spots available, so click here for more info.

After that, I will be out of the office for a couple of weeks due to a medical issue.  I appreciate your patience and will do my best to respond to calls and emails as I am able once I return.  Don’t worry, we’ve got everything scheduled so that our blog posts and podcast episodes will continue as usual during my absence.

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