The Supreme Court’s rejection of a petition seeking review of California’s Proposition 12, which sets animal housing standards for meat sold in the state, ends an effort by the North American Meat Institute to set aside the requirements. But the meat industry has another shot at legal redemption in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeals court has yet to rule in a case brought by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council, which was argued in April. In that case, AFBF and NPPC specifically challenge the law’s requirement that pork products cannot be sold in the state unless they come from sows that have 24 square feet of space.

Depending on the ruling from the appeals court, either side could end up seeking review in the high court. NAMI also was seeking review of a 9th Circuit decision, in this case an unpublished opinion that affirmed a district court denial of the group's request for an injunction to stop implementation of Prop 12. NAMI targeted the law’s application to pork and veal products.
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House Small Business Rs: WOTUS move needs review

House Republicans are appealing to the Biden administration to review the potential impact on small businesses of any revisions of the “waters of the U.S.” rule that defines the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

In a letter to EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, Republicans on the House Small Business Committee call on the agencies to consider the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act “and the post-pandemic situation of small businesses when reviewing the CWA and potential revisions to its regulations.”

The agencies announced earlier this month that they will be replacing the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which narrowed the CWA jurisdiction.

Agencies get two more years to draft new NEPA procedures

Federal agencies have two more years to propose updates to their National Environmental Policy Act procedures, extending a deadline set in new NEPA regulations issued by the Trump administration.

The Council on Environmental Quality published an interim final rule in the Federal Register today, giving agencies more time to “to avoid wasting resources developing procedures based upon regulations that CEQ may repeal or substantially amend.”

In a statement, CEQ said it is currently conducting “an ongoing and comprehensive review” of the 2020 rule for “consistency with the nation’s environmental, equity, and economic priorities.” It’s also evaluating the process CEQ used to develop the rule and is considering whether it “properly and lawfully interprets and implements NEPA.”

A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit brought by environmental groups over the 2020 rule, ruling it was not ripe for challenge because agencies had yet to adopt their own NEPA procedures.

USDA slashes Brazilian corn production estimate

 Brazil’s second-crop corn – the crop most soybean farmers plant after harvesting their soybeans – will be even worse than expected due to drought and delayed planting throughout the country, according to a new analysis from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Brazil will produce only 94 million metric tons of corn this year, according to the FAS office in Brasilia, which was predicting a 105-million-ton harvest as recently as April. Most of the reduction is due to problems with the second-crop corn, known in Brazil as the “safrinha.”

“The forecast, if realized, would represent the lowest production volume for Brazilian corn since (the 2017-18 marketing year) when a drought severely hampered yields for the crop,” FAS said in the report.

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EU farmers to offer reaction to farm subsidy program deal

The European Parliament, Commission and Council have reached an agreement on a new Common Agricultural Policy, the European Union’s version of the U.S. farm bill.  And the EU’s largest farm and co-op organization, COPA-COGECA, will be announcing its assessment of the deal today.

European ag ministers met over the weekend and on Monday in Luxembourg to discuss the CAP deal and pronounced their approval.

“Finally! It took more than three years, but now we have a great deal for our common agricultural policy within the EU,” Irish Ag Minister Charlie McConalogue said Monday.

Senate Judiciary to focus on packers

The Senate Judiciary Committee will be having a hearing in July on agribusiness consolidation, and meat processors are going to be under scrutiny, says a senior Republican on the panel, Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

“I expect to hear more from the meatpackers that are making $1,200 a head when the farmer is losing money and the consumers’ price hasn’t gone down,” Grassley told reporters Monday.

He said that he expects last week’s Senate Ag hearing on the cattle market to result in some kind of legislation. He said it’s not clear what the legislation will conclude.

By the way: Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, the Judiciary Committee chairman, told WFMB radio in Illinois he’s “left it up to Chuck (Grassley) to put together the list of witnesses.”

Post-SCOTUS, Grassley looks to EPA to protect biofuels

Grassley says he’s counting on EPA Administrator Michael Regan to limit the number of biofuel waivers handed out to refiners in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling.

“I count on him for not liking fossil fuels like maybe previous administrations have and that puts ethanol in a strong position,” Grassley told reporters Monday.

The high court overturned a key part of a 10th Circuit ruling that would have kept refiners from getting future waivers if they didn’t receive relief in previous years.

He said it. "We have to shake them up and make them realize that what they want to happen by 2030 is not going to happen.” – Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, when asked about the Biden administration’s focus on electric vehicles over biofuels.

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