Thursday, March 30, 2017

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—March 29, 2017

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—March 29, 2017

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:

Ag Policy: President Trump Signs Executive Order on Energy
On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order entitled: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.  According to a White House press release, the Executive Order:
  • “directs the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend, revise, or rescind four actions related to the Clean Power Plan”
  • “rescinds Executive and Agency actions centered on the previous administration’s climate change agenda”
  • “directs all agencies to conduct a review of existing actions that harm domestic energy production and suspend, revise, or rescind actions that are not mandated by law”
  • “directs agencies to use the best available science and economics in regulatory analysis” 

Avian Influenza: Commercial Georgia Flock Confirmed Positive
On March 27, 2017, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) confirmed that a Georgia commercial poultry flock “has tested positive for H7, presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).” According to GDA, “[t]he virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening for the commercial facility.” GDA stated that the flock has been depopulated.

Ag-Gag: Arkansas Bill Signed into Law
On March 23, 2017, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law HB1665 entitled: To Create a Cause of Action for Unauthorized Access to Another Person's Property.  The legislation creates a civil cause of action for unauthorized access to agricultural property and covers an employee that “[r]ecords images or sound occurring within an employer's commercial property and uses the recording in a manner that damages the employer.”

Ag Data: Farm Groups and EPA Reach Privacy Settlement
On March 28, 2017, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) issued a press release announcing that a federal judge has approved a settlement regarding litigation brought by AFBF and the National Pork Producers Council against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  According to AFBF, the litigation was initiated “after EPA released a vast compilation of spreadsheets containing personal information about farmers and ranchers in 29 states who raise livestock and poultry, in some cases including the names of farmers, ranchers and sometimes other family members, home addresses, email addresses, GPS coordinates and telephone numbers.”  AFBF stated that as part of the settlement, EPA has agreed that “only the city, county, zip code and permit status of an operation will be released.”

Invasive Species: PDA and PSU Extension to Train Volunteers
On March 24, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) issued a press release announcing that PDA “in conjunction with Penn State Extension and Berks County Conservation District, will host a series of April public meetings to train volunteers to assist in eradicating the invasive Spotted Lanternfly.” According to PDA, the meetings will be held “in Berks, Bucks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties.”

Pennsylvania Legislation 
  • Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs: S545 Dog Law amendment - spaying/neutering as a condition of shelter release (referred March 24, 207)
  • House Agriculture & Rural Affairs: HB 972 Additional requirements for Boarding Kennels (referred March 27, 2017)
  • House Tourism and Recreational Development: HB 977 Lease land by recreational authorities for OHV riding (RULWA) (referred March 27, 2017) 

Pennsylvania Administrative Actions and Notices

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