On September 17, 2018, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality ("ADEQ") issued a draft denial of C&H; Hog Farm's permit application for the operation of a swine facility along the Buffalo National River.
The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have recently initiated processes to evaluate and propose revisions to their approaches to the regulation of agricultural biotechnology. On June 29, 2018 the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a notice of its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement in connection with potential changes to USDA regulations governing plant biotechnology products. The notice identifies potential issues APHIS will evaluate in the EIS and seeks public comments on the impacts and alternatives the agency should consider. Comments on the notice are due by July 30, 2018. APHIS’s review of its regulations is part of a broader federal effort to examine federal oversight of biotechnology-derived products to address advances in biotechnology. In June, the FDA announced “new steps” in its approach to the regulation of biotechnology-derived products, including the formation of a new Biotech Working Group and forthcoming release of an Action Plan to ensure a “flexible regulatory framework” focused on (i) advancing and protecting public and animal health, (ii) strengthening public outreach and communication, and (iii) increasing engagement with domestic and international partners.
PPGMR Law recently obtained summary judgment dismissal for firm client Brookshire Grocery Company in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. PPGMR attorneys Scott Morgan and Molly Shepherd successfully achieved dismissal of all claims in an employment discrimination case brought by a former Brookshire Grocery Company employee. Plaintiff’s causes of action were based upon alleged sex discrimination leading to his termination. In his Complaint, he alleged that he was treated differently than similarly situated employees. In its Order dismissing all claims, the Court held that he failed to establish a prima facie case because he failed to establish a similarly-situated employee who was treated differently than he was.
On Monday, January 22nd the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an environmental law case that centers on the question of whether the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) allows an agency such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) to designate private land as “critical habitat” when it is neither a habitat nor critical.