Back in 2018, I posted on a federal district court decision involving a challenge to a USDA loan guarantee granted to a new Maryland poultry farm in Caroline County. Food & Water Watch (FWW) had challenged the environmental assessment required at the time to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); see that information here. In 2018, the federal district held that FWW had standing to bring the challenge. Still, a federal court of appeals recently reversed this decision. A two-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, agreed that FWW did not have standing.
The Supreme Court of Iowa recently found that a dispute brought by two groups against the state of Iowa lacked standing and was not an issue the courts could decide. The two groups claim that excessive nitrate levels from agricultural runoff into the Raccoon River had impaired recreational uses of the river and increased costs to purify the water for drinking. The decision, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement v. State of Iowa, can be found here.
Recently the Court of Appeals of Minnesota partially reversed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) determination that an environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposed dairy expansion was not needed. During the public comment period, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) raised concerns that the MPCA had not addressed climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions from the expansion, and the MPCA should develop an EIS to approve the expansion. The court of appeals agreed with the MCEA, and now the MPCA will need to conduct an additional environmental review before approving the expansion and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (NPDES) modifications. This ruling has raised a concern that other states may see similar challenges.
Although we have started 2017 off, I want to take a look back at some of the big legal developments in the area of agricultural law. We saw a few important developments in 2016 in the field and will probably see more in 2017 with a change in presidential administrations. Keep reading here, and this site will work to keep you updated on those recent developments in 2017. Continue reading →
In 2015, I wrote on a decision from the U.S. District Court of Minnesota claiming that American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) did not have “standing.” The ag groups were trying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from releasing certain information (to read that earlier post, click here). Recently, on appeal, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed this decision finding the groups did have standing and information released by EPA was exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).