Friday, January 22, 2016

Agricultural Law Weekly Review: January 22, 2016

Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney

The following information is an update of recent, local, state, national, and international legal developments relevant to agriculture:

Oil and Gas: Court Rules Compressor Station May be built Next to Farm
On January 7, 2016, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania determined that the New Sewickley Township Board of Supervisors (Beaver County, PA) acted properly when the Township agreed to permit the construction of a gas compressor station on land adjacent to an organic farm (Kretschmann Farm, LLC v. Twp. Of New Sewickley, No. 360 C.D. 2015). According to the Court, the organic farmers' failed to present evidence that: 1) the proposed gas compressor station would cause harm to the “health, safety, and well-being of the Township’s residents;” or 2) the Township’s action was a violation of United States and Pennsylvania constitutional rights.  

HPAI: Government Confirms HPAI in Indiana Commercial Turkey Flock
On January 15, 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a press release confirming the detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in an Indiana commercial turkey flock.  According to USDA APHIS, the strain of HPAI detected in the flock is H7N8, “a different strain of HPAI than the strains that caused the 2015 outbreak.” As of January 22, 2016, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health reported the depopulation of 414,503 turkeys suspected of being infected with H7N8.   

WOTUS: President Vetoes Measure to Overturn WOTUS; Senate Blocks Veto Override
On January 20, 2016, President Obama vetoed a joint resolution of Congress (S.J.RES.22) that would have overturned “the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.” On January 21, 2016, the U.S. Senate voted 52-40 to override the President’s veto.  The Senate’s action, however, fell eight votes short of the majority number required to override a presidential veto.

Immigration: Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to President’s Actions on Immigration
On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case brought by 26 states challenging President Obama’s executive action authority regarding the federal immigration programs Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (United States, et al. v. Texas, et al., CaseNo. 15-674).   

Raw Milk: Illinois Legalizes Raw Milk Sales
On January 13, 2016, the Illinois Joint Commission on Administrative Rules approved regulations that now allow the on-farm sale of raw milk by producers that acquire a permit issued by the Illinois Department of Health.  The new regulations are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016.

Legislation: Agreement Reached on School Nutrition Standards
On January 15, 2016, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) issued a press release announcing that the organization had “worked collaboratively with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the White House and the Senate Agriculture Committee to reach an agreement to improve nutrition standards for school meals.” According to the press release, the agreement is scheduled for inclusion in the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill. 

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