Latest News

8 Aug, 2016

Pulled from the Swamp: EPA Wetland Determination Now Judicially Reviewable

2019-03-12T09:27:20-05:00August 8th, 2016|Construction Activity, Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Law, EPA, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Landowners and developers bogged in an EPA wetland determination were recently thrown a life line when the United States Supreme Court determined The Army Corps of Engineer's (Corps) "jurisdictional determinations" (JD) regarding wetland designations are reviewable by the court.  United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) landowners and developers who do not have the proper permits can face severe criminal and [...]

30 Jul, 2012

HSUS’ Flank Attack on Gestation Crates Pt. II: Analyzing the Blueprint for HSUS’ Strategy

2018-04-23T18:22:22-05:00July 30th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

HSUS is not the first group to go after hog operations for ammonia emissions.  The blueprint for HSUS' flank attack was established by earlier lawsuits against hog and poultry operations for violations of the Comprehensive Environmental  Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA aka the Superfund law) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).  CERCLA and EPCRA do not limit pollutants but require reporting when specific quantities of specific substances are released into the environment.  CERCLA and EPCRA [...]

26 Jun, 2012

A $741,000 EPA Penalty Based on a Company’s own Documents? Ouch.

2012-06-26T16:49:45-05:00June 26th, 2012|EPA, Penalty|

A national homebuilder was recently slapped with a $741,000.00 fine for Clean Water Act violations. This is obviously a substantial penalty, and I wonder whether it could have been avoided. The EPA filed suit against national homebuilder, Toll Brothers, alleging over 600 storm water violations. The violations were discovered through site inspections and the EPA’s review of documentation submitted by Toll Brothers. You read that correctly, documentation submitted by the [...]

19 Jun, 2012

Illinois Taps CAFO’s to Fund Regulation of CAFO’s

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00June 19th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Owners of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO's) in Illinois will be partially funding their own pollution permits if the Governor Pat Quinn signs the recently passed Clean Water Funding Fairness Act.  The Act would require CAFO's that discharge or intend to discharge pollutants to pay an annual fee for their permits under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  The fee amount is determined by the size of your CAFO: $750 for CAFO's [...]

4 Jun, 2012

Surprise, Surprise, the EPA is watching you from the skies: Part I

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00June 4th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

You may have been surprised by the recent news that EPA Region 7 has conducted aerial surveillance of feed yards in the Midwest for the past two years.  If you had not heard about these activities you should check out Todd Janzen's Ag Law Blog article EPA Aerial Surveillance Under Fire.  To tell you the truth, I was not surprised.  During every EPA/Clean Water Act presentation I have attended, the speaker displayed an aerial photo of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) [...]

28 Mar, 2012

Airborne Water Pollution: North Carolina case decides whether Clean Water Act regulates airborne emissions

2018-04-23T18:22:23-05:00March 28th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

As the old saying goes; what goes up, must come down, which is why celebratory gunfire is not that great of an idea.  With that clever segue, a North Carolina court will have to decide whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) can regulate what goes up before it comes down. The case involves Rose Acre Farms which is a large egg farm, housing over 3 millions hens near a national wildlife refuge in [...]

30 Dec, 2011

Agricultural Related Lawsuits coming to head in 2012; Pt. I

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00December 30th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

At this time last year, the EPA set limits on the maximum daily amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment allowed into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries; commonly referred to as the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load).  States within the watershed were subsequently required to develop an EPA approved plan for limiting the pollutants from entering the watershed. Immediately thereafter, national agricultural organizations joined forces to challenge the EPA's TMDL for the Chesapeake [...]

22 Aug, 2011

Who’s Regulating Iowa CAFO’s? Environmental groups going after Iowa DNR authority by suing EPA

2018-04-23T18:22:24-05:00August 22nd, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Currently, the EPA authorizes the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to regulate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) through Clean Water Act permits.  However, the Environmental Integrity Group, Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement have petitioned the EPA to revoke Iowa DNR's authority for failing to regulate CAFO's under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The groups filed a notice of intent to sue in light of the EPA's failure to respond to [...]