Latest News

8 Aug, 2016

Pulled from the Swamp: EPA Wetland Determination Now Judicially Reviewable

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00August 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 [...]

13 Oct, 2015

The 6th Circuit Puts the Brakes on EPA Enforcing New Definition of Waters of the US

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00October 13th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set to begin enforcing the new definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) on August 28, 2015.  However, several states filed suits in various jurisdictions alleging the EPA lacked the authority to expand its jurisdiction pursuant to the new definition.  Now the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has put the brakes on the EPA's plan to enforce WOTUS [...]

8 Oct, 2014

White Flag Waved: EPA drops suit against Lois Alt

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00October 8th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has decided not to appeal the Northern District of West Virginia's ruling in favor of poultry farmer, Lois Alt.  The court ruled the Clean Water Act ("CWA") did not regulate storm water runoff from the non-production areas of a farmyard.  A great outcome for Lois Alt which may impact concentrated animal feeding operations ("CAFOs") across the country. In 2012 the EPA handed Lois Alt an [...]

3 Mar, 2014

EPA Proposing New Pesticide Safety Measures

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00March 3rd, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to implement new safety measures for handling and applying pesticides on the nation's farm ground.  The proposed changes come on the heels of an "Agricultural Health Study" of pesticide impacts on human health overseen by the EPA, USDA, National Institute of Health and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The proposed changes would include making pesticide protection training for applicators an [...]

9 Oct, 2013

Iowa DNR and EPA Come Together on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Regulations

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00October 9th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Fall Into Line! A year ago the EPA threatened to pull Iowa's police power over Iowa's Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) due to perceived shortcomings of Iowa's inspection and permitting process. On September 11, 2013 Iowa DNR (IDNR) and the EPA came to an agreement on actions the IDNR would take to bring their inspection and permitting process in line with EPA's requirements. Iowa agreed to the following: - [...]

30 Jul, 2012

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00July 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 [...]

20 Jul, 2012

HSUS’ Flank Attack on Gestation Crates: Claims Environmental Violations of 51 Hog Facilities Pt. I

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00July 20th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Battle of Big Bethel, VA 1861 The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently posted the following headline: The HSUS Serves Notices of Intent to Sue More than 50 Pig Confinement Facilities for Toxic Air Pollution.  At first glance it does not make sense for a program whose alleged mission is to protect animals from abusive treatment to concern itself with environmental issues.  However, if the mission is not just the protection of animals, but [...]

4 Jun, 2012

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00June 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) [...]

5 Jan, 2012

Agricultural related lawsuits coming to head in 2012; Pt. II

By |2018-04-23T18:22:23+00:00January 5th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

On January 20, 2011 the Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network of North America filed a lawsuit against the EPA for allegedly failing to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) before approving pesticide use.  Agricultural organizations such as the National Corn Growers Association have joined the lawsuit to ensure they have a seat at the table. The lawsuit is 411 pages long [...]

30 Dec, 2011

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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:24+00:00December 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

By |2018-04-23T18:22:24+00:00August 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 [...]

29 Jun, 2011

Pesticide Reglations: Bill H.R. 872 may knock out EPA authority under Clean Water Act

By |2018-04-23T18:22:24+00:00June 29th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

On June 21, 2011 the Senate Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 872 which would effectively restore regulatory authority for pesticide application to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The Bill will now go to the full Senate for approval.    Passed by the House on March 31, 2011, H.R. 872 would prohibit the EPA or a state from requiring CWA permits for discharges of a FIFRA-approved pesticide into navigable waters.  The legislation is in response to the Sixth-Circuit Court of Appeals' decision [...]

17 May, 2011

EPA Cracks Down on 7 Midwest CAFOs

By |2018-04-23T18:22:24+00:00May 17th, 2011|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The EPA is on the warpath in the midwest again.  On May 16, 2011 the EPA Region 7 announced it had issued administrative complicane orders to seven concentrated animal feeding operations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska; all cattle operations.  The operations included medium to large CAFO's operating with and without NPDES permits. The violations included the following: 1.     Failure to maintain adequate storage capacity and confinement of cattle in areas [...]