The AGree NewsFeed highlights important stories surrounding domestic and international food, agriculture, and climate policy

Congress Returns as December Deadlines Pile Up — Politico Weekly Agriculture
Source: Politico Weekly Agriculture
November 29, 2021
Ximena Bustillo
“The Senate is barreling toward major deadlines in December as lawmakers look to fund the government and pass both the annual defense policy bill and Democrats’ social spending package. Congress has only a few days left to prevent a government shutdown ahead of the Dec. 3 deadline, and Democrats are already contemplating another stopgap to push the deadline later into December…Even if lawmakers pass another continuing resolution that provides a few additional weeks to negotiate final appropriations for the rest of fiscal 2022, prospects are bleak for a bipartisan government funding deal before the end of December — likely necessitating another stopgap into early next year. A possible shutdown deadline of Dec. 17 (one of the dates Democrats had in mind) would run up against the Dec. 15 deadline when the Treasury Department could run out of money to pay the government’s bills on time…Dem’s reconciliation bill: Democrats aren’t expecting the Senate to take up the climate and social spending package until the second week of December at the earliest — and it’s likely to face significant modifications in order to win the support of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the main Democratic holdout. Congressional sources tell your host they don’t expect the agriculture provisions to take much of a hit. For now, the House and Senate are scheduled to be in session through Dec. 10 before adjourning for the rest of the year — but that timeline is likely to slip.” Read More
EPA to Revisit Trump-Era Factory Farm Reporting Waiver — Greenwire
Source: Greenwire
November 29, 2021
Sean Reilly
“EPA is moving to revisit a Trump administration decision to exempt thousands of farms from reporting toxic air emissions spawned by animal waste. The move follows a legal fight tied to the 2019 Trump-era rule granting the exemption. After a review, EPA “has identified good faith, substantial and legitimate concerns” that the exemption “does not align with the current administration’s policy goals,” lawyers for the agency wrote in a motion last week asking a federal judge both to allow a do-over and dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club and other challengers. The 2019 exemption waives the emissions reporting required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The Trump administration took that step after Congress approved a spending bill rider that provided a comparable pass from reporting under what’s usually dubbed the Superfund law but is formally known as Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. EPA at the time argued that the two laws were intertwined, but the challengers in the litigation contended that the agency lacked the statutory authority to issue the separate exemption and had also failed to conduct a needed environmental impact analysis…With the Biden administration now committed to reworking or scrapping the waiver, EPA officials want the option to meanwhile leave it in place, notwithstanding reservations from the plaintiffs…The Biden administration’s reversal comes as EPA is under pressure on multiple fronts to crack down on agriculture-related air pollution, particularly emissions stemming from industrial-style animal feeding operations.” Read More
EPA Urges Supreme Court to Stay Out of WOTUS Fight — Greenwire
Source: Greenwire
November 29, 2021
Pamela King
“The Biden administration last week called on the nation’s highest bench to give the federal government more time on its rule defining the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction. In a filing docketed Wednesday, EPA asked the Supreme Court to reject an Idaho couple’s plea for a rehash of the famously muddled 4-1-4 ruling in Rapanos v. United States in 2006 that resulted in two competing tests for defining “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS. The couple — Chantell and Michael Sackett — argued in a recent Supreme Court petition that the justices should provide a definitive answer on whether former Justice Anthony Kennedy’s “significant nexus” test or former Justice Antonin Scalia’s narrower definition should control…“If the Court grants review now, it will be forced to decide whether the [Clean Water Act] term ‘waters of the United States’ unambiguously excludes the wetlands on petitioners’ property … at a time when neither the forthcoming agency rule nor the administrative record underlying it has been finalized,” the government lawyers wrote in their Supreme Court brief. “That mode of proceeding would invert the usual order of operations, whereby judicial review occurs after the agency has completed its work,” they continued…The government urged the Supreme Court to reject the Sacketts’ petition. The justices only accept about 1 percent of cases that come up to the high court. The Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing the Sacketts, has previously expressed interest in getting the conservative-dominated Supreme Court to weigh in once more on WOTUS.” Read More

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