Thursday, May 18, 2017

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—May 18, 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:

Right to Farm: North Carolina Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto
On May 11, 2017, the Raleigh News & Observer reported that the North Carolina state Senate overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s recent veto of legislation limiting monetary damages in certain nuisance lawsuits against agricultural and forestry operations.  According to the report, the lawmakers voted 30 to 18 to override the veto which satisfied North Carolina’s three-fifths override requirement.  The Senate vote followed the May 10, 2017, state House vote (74 to 40) which also overrode the Governor’s veto.  According to the report, the legislation “was prompted by 26 federal lawsuits filed against the state’s largest pork producer, Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods.”

International Trade: China to Allow U.S. Beef Imports
On May 11, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that “President of the United States Donald Trump and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping agreed…to advance U.S. - China economic cooperation with a 100-day action plan under the framework of the U.S. - China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.” According to the announcement: “Following one more round of technical consultations between the United States and China, China is to allow imports of U.S. beef on conditions consistent with international food safety and animal health standards and consistent with the 1999 Agricultural Cooperation Agreement, beginning as soon as possible but no later than July 16, 2017.”

National Organic Program: Imported Soybeans Improperly Designated as Organic
On May12, 2017, the Washington Post reported that in December of 2016, a shipment of 36 million pounds of soybeans was imported into the U.S. and improperly designated as “USDA Organic.” The report stated that sometime prior to its arrival in the U.S. the soybeans were fumigated with a pesticide.  According to the report, “[a]bout 21 million pounds of the soybeans have already been distributed to customers.”

International Trade: Lighthizer Confirmed as U.S. Trade Representative
On May 11, 2017, Reuters reported that the U.S. Senate had confirmed Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative.  According to the report, Lighthizer won support from both Republicans and Democrats and was confirmed by a vote of 82 to 17.  Reuters stated that the Trump administration has been waiting “for Lighthizer to be in place before triggering the formal process to begin renegotiating NAFTA.

Food Safety: FDA Announces New FSMA Resources
Recently, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced the availability of two new resources regarding the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  On May 10, 2017, FDA released a document entitled Guidance for Industry: Compliance with Providing an Acceptable Unique Facility Identifier for the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs RegulationAccording to FDA, this resource provides information regarding “how you may comply with FDA’s requirement to identify yourself as the importer of a food at entry into the United States under the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP).” Relatedly, on May 11, 2017, FDA announced an update to “ to include updated fact sheets, and new guidance as a resource for importers subject to the FSVP rule.”

Pesticides: EPA Delays Implementation of Pesticide Applicators Rule
On May 11, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced “a 12-month extension for implementation of the revised final Certification and Training of Pesticide Applicators (C&T) rule.” As a result, the new effective date for the rule is May 22, 2018.  According to EPA, “[t]he extended timeline will enable EPA to work with states and provide adequate compliance and training resources.”

Avian Influenza: GAO Report Calls for Avian Influenza Evaluation Plan
On May 11, 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a plan for evaluating efforts to control outbreaks of avian influenza.   According to GAO, “On the basis of GAO's analysis of federal efforts to respond to outbreaks and of stakeholders' views, GAO identified ongoing challenges and associated issues that federal agencies face in mitigating the potential harmful effects of avian influenza.”  GAO stated that while USDA “has taken actions to address lessons learned from its responses to the outbreaks” a plan is needed “to evaluate the effectiveness [of] its efforts.”

International Trade: USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs
On May 11, 2017, “U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue… announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).” According to Secretary Perdue, the new undersecretary will work “side by side with our U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross…[and] will ensure that American producers are well equipped to sell their products and feed the world.”

WOTUS: EPA Announces New WOTUS Rulemaking Website
On May 15, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new website “to provide the public with information about EPA’s review of the definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ (WOTUS) as set out in the 2015 ‘Clean Water Rule.’” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stated that “[t]he president has directed us to review this regulation to address the concerns from farmers and local communities that it creates unnecessary burdens and inhibits economic growth.”  According to Administrator Pruitt, “[t]his website aims to provide the public with information about our actions to meet the president’s directive.”

Pennsylvania Legislation
Senate Agricultural and Rural Affairs
·         SB 679: Increasing Access to Consumer Fireworks (Referred to committee - May 5, 2017)
·         HB 187: Allow Wind Energy on Farmland Preservation (Referred to committee - May 15, 2017)
House Agricultural and Rural Affairs
·         HB 1348: Amending the Pennsylvania Fair Dealership Law (Referred to committee - May 11, 2017)
House Tourism and Recreational Development
·         Voting meeting on HB 544 (Amending the State's Recreational use of Land Liability Law and any other business that may come before the committee - June 6, 2017)

AgLaw HotLinks:
·         USDA to Publish Study on GMO Labeling Standard - Natural Products
·         What the Reorganization at the USDA Means - AgWebEditor

Follow us on Twitter at PSU Ag & Shale Law (@AgShaleLaw) to receive AgLaw HotLinks

Connect with us on Facebook! Every week we will post the CASL Ledger which details all our publications and activities from the week.

Stay informed with our monthly Agricultural Law Brief located here.

For a comprehensive summary of daily judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food, visit The Ag & Food Law Blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment