Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Agricultural Law Weekly Review—November 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:

Air Quality: Court Extends Date for Certain Farm Emission Reporting
On November 22, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced  that the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has extended the initial reporting date for certain farms previously exempted from emission reporting requirements until January 22, 2018.  Accordingly, on April 11, 2017, the Court struck down an EPA final rule that had provided a complete agricultural exemption for reporting air emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) as well as a partial agricultural exemption for reporting air emissions under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  EPA stated that the agency sought “additional time from the Court to delay the effective date so that EPA could develop guidance materials to help farmers understand their reporting obligations.” As a result, the Court allowed that farms affected by the April 11, 2017, decision will not be required to submit their initial reports until the Court orders its mandate enforcing the decision.  

Pesticides: EU Renews Glyphosate Approval
On November 27, 2017, the European Commission (EC) announced that the European Union (EU) Member States have agreed to renew the approval of the herbicide glyphosate for another 5 years.  According to the EC, the agreement was reached by a qualified majority of the Appeal Committee.  To achieve a qualified majority, a vote must be supported by 55% of the countries, representing at least 65% of the total EU population.  Accordingly, the EC reported that 18 Member States (representing 65.71% of the EU population) voted in favor of renewal, 9 Member States (representing 32.26 % of the EU population) voted against, and 1 Member State (representing 2.02 % of the EU population) abstained.

Pesticides: Pennsylvania Designates 19 Counties for Pesticide Disposal
On November 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) announced the 2018 list of counties designated for disposal of unwanted or unusable pesticides through the Commonwealth’s CHEMSWEEP program.  Under CHEMSWEEP, licensed pesticide applicators, pesticide dealers and commercial pesticide application businesses in designated counties have the ability to register for the collection and destruction of unwanted or unusable pesticides.  Each year, different counties receive designation for participation in the program.  For 2018, the designated counties are: Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Franklin, Jefferson, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Potter, and Washington.  According to PDA, since the CHEMSWEEP program was established in 1993, over “2.5 million pounds of unwanted or unusable pesticides have been properly destroyed.”

Organics: USDA Issues Assessment on New EU Organic Regulations
On November 17, 2017, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service issued a report discussing how new European Union (EU) organic regulations may affect the U.S. organic sector.  According to the report, though initial projects promised extensive reforms, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service foresees only minor changes.  The report stated that “[t]he biggest likely impact for the United States organic sector is that the EU will require trade agreements in place of the current framework, equivalence arrangements.”  

Pennsylvania Actions and Notices
State Conservation Commission

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