Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Idaho’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for lack of monitoring underground discharges and potential discharges from dry weather applications. Food and Water Watch (FWW) and the Snake River Waterkeepers (SRW) brought the lawsuit. The decision vacates the permit back to EPA to determine its next steps. The decision is in Food & Water Watch v. EPA.
In 2019, we
continue to see decisions involving the application of the right-to-farm law
(RTF) defense in a few states. Recently,
the Court of Appeals of Indiana upheld a trial court’s decision applying the
state’s RTF law. In this case, the RTF
law applied to claims that a neighboring hog farm was creating a nuisance. Although over the past 18 months, we have
seen decisions involving RTF laws not applying to agricultural companies being
hit with large damage verdicts, it is crucial to remember that in many cases,
the RTF defense continues to apply and prevent large verdicts.
A new livestock operation moving into an area can often cause fears from neighbors over potential changes in the neighborhood. Neighbors may fear new smells, sounds, and sights being a part of daily life or changes in the character of the neighborhood. Many states grant counties (or potentially cities) the power to develop zoning ordinances related to agriculture to help limit some of these concerns. One state, Minnesota, recently saw a court case involving a county granting a conditional use permit (CUP) for a new feedlot challenged in state court by a group of realtors. The realtors claimed approving the CUP was unreasonable or contrary to the law because the record did not reflect that the feedlot would meet the mandatory minimum requirements in the zoning ordinances. The Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed and upheld the granting of the CUP to the feedlot (Rosenquist, 2017). Continue reading →