Search Our Online Library

Discover, read, and monitor a wealth of information on your topic from several different sources.

For purposes of Clean Water Act (CWA), the federal government has jurisdiction over “waters of the United States.” Under the CWA, a permit is required before a “pollutant” can be discharged into such waters.The definition of “pollutant” is very broad, as is the definition of “waters of the United States.” In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had no regulatory authority over isolated wetlands that did not have a substantive connection to interstate commerce.

March 12, 2007 | Roger McEowen

It seems that conservation is in vogue at the moment in all different areas. But, an Arizona ski resort recently found out that there can be a limit to conservation efforts. In this case, the resort proposed an expansion plan that would use recycled sewage water to make snow on peaks that are sacred to 13 Indian tribes.  Arizona Snowbowl is a ski area on Humphrey’s Peak, the most religiously significant of the San Francisco Peaks in the Coconino National Forest. Several tribes say they have a duty to protect the sacred peaks.

September 10, 2007 | Roger McEowen

Community and environmental groups sued the EPA challenging the validity of consent agreements that EPA had entered into with participating animal feeding operations (AFOs).  The court, however, upheld the EPA’s ability to enter into the consent agreements.  The plaintiffs claimed that the consent agreements amounted rules disguised as enforcement actions and that, as a result, the EPA had not followed proper procedures for rulemaking.  The plaintiffs also claimed that the EPA had exceeded its statutory authority by entering into the agreements.  The court disagreed, holding that the consen

In a recent opinion, a majority of the U.S.

A federal court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must establish safeguards to prevent migratory birds from dying in collisions with telephone, radio, cellular and other communications towers along the Gulf Coast.  The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) makes it illegal to “pursue, hunt, take, capture or kill” any migratory bird.  The plaintiffs, birdwatcher and conservations groups, claimed that the FCC unlawfully “takes” millions of migratory birds each year when the birds are killed in collisions with FCC-licensed towers – telephone, radio, cell and other communica

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), announced it was adopting regulations designed to reduce the amount of ozone (smog) allowed in the air.  Just before the announcement, however, EPA agreed to weaken a key section of the new rules after being told at the last minute that President Bush preferred a less stringent approach.  We wrote about the issue here, and noted that the President’s move was designed to soften the EPA’s smog rules to protect the ethanol industry.  Now, the U.S.

November 10, 2008 | Roger McEowen

USDA gets it wrong on wetland determination.  The “Swampbuster” rules were enacted as part of the conservation provisions of the 1985 Farm Bill.  In general, the rules prohibit the conversion of “wetland” to crop production by producers that are receiving farm program payments.  A farmer that is determined to have improperly converted wetland is deemed ineligible for farm program payments.  But, an exception exists for wetland that was converted to crop production before December 23, 1985 – the effective date of the 1985 Farm Bill.  Under the Swampbuster rules, “wetland” has:  (1) a predomi

May 8, 2009 | Roger McEowen

The Clean Water Act (CWA) prohibits the discharge of any “pollutant” into the “navigable waters of the United States” without a permit.  A “discharge of a pollutant” is defined as “any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters from any point source.”  In other words, a pollutant cannot be added to navigable waters without a discharge permit.  But, can regulated waters that are unaltered be transferred through a point source from one location to another location without a permit?  That was the question in this case, and the EPA has historically said “no.”  In addition, in 2004, the U.S.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a recent opinion, has overruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in determining that tailings (waste rock, a.k.a. slurry) from mining operations are “fill material” and, as such, the U.S.

In early 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that even though a pesticide complies with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the pesticide is not exempt from the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements.  As a result, the court invalidated an EPA regulation made final in late 2007, with the impact of the court’s ruling broadening the potential application of the CWA to agricultural activities. 

September 29, 2010 | Roger McEowen

Overview

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is responsible for regulating air pollution in the State of California by developing measures to control the emission of airborne toxins. In 1998 CARB determined that particulate matter emissions from diesel-fueled engines were a toxic air contaminant.  In 2004, CARB adopted an airborne toxic control measure designed to address particulate emissions from diesel vehicles.

March 21, 2012 | Roger McEowen
October 16, 2006 | Roger McEowen

On October 16, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider a significant new issue on the government's power to demand civic contributions from real estate developers as a condition for granting permits to build new projects. The case was from the state of Washington and tested whether the Constitution puts limits on local officials' power to impose fees on new projects to offset the cost of added public services.

March 10, 2008 | Roger McEowen

During the week of March 9, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), announced it was adopting regulations designed to reduce the amount of ozone, commonly known as smog, allowed in the air.  While the lower standard still falls short of what most health experts say is needed to significantly reduce heart and asthma attacks from breathing smog-clogged air, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson called the new smog requirements "the most stringent standards ever," and he said they will require 345 counties — out of more than 700 that are monitored — to make

On April 14, 2008, the U.S.

On August 21, the U.S. Justice Department filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case from the 11th Circuit that involves the scope of federal jurisdiction over isolated wetlands.  The petition results from the Court’s fractured 2006 opinion in Rapanos, et ux. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, 126 S. Ct.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)has encouraged air pollution for nearly 20 years by selling invalid “offset accounts” to polluters.  The NRDC claims that SCAQMD (a government agency) sells pollution reduction credits to polluters that do not take real steps to reduce pollution.  The NRDC is challenging the SCAQMD’s actions in the South Coast Air Basin, which includes all of Orange County and parts of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernadino Counties.  The federal Clean Air

The Clean Water Act (CWA) makes it illegal to discharge a “pollutant” into the “navigable waters of the United States” without a permit.  Violations can include the imposition of fines and/or imprisonment.  Many court decisions have been rendered over the years and the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2006, rendered its most recent opinion involving the question of federal regulation over isolated wetlands (Rapanos, et ux., et al. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, 126 S. Ct.

May 19, 2009 | Roger McEowen

In a case that has been in the courts for years, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit has refused to grant an injunction to the state of Oklahoma that would have stopped the use of "poultry litter" as field fertilizer.  Poultry litter includes bedding materials of poultry as well as poultry feces.  As such, poultry litter includes bacteria, E.

Overview

July 1, 2013 | Roger McEowen

 During July, the economy continued to struggle.  That merits attention on behalf of your clients and continues to put an emphasis on what might be done from a tax planning standpoint to make sure that no more taxes than necessary are being paid.  

June 3, 2013 | Roger McEowen

In recent weeks there have been several significant tax and agricultural law developments.  Most recently, the President announced that he was suspending enforcement of the employer mandate (and associated penalties for non-compliance) contained in the 2010 health care law until the beginning of 2015 – after the fall 2014 mid-term elections are over. 

May 17, 2013 | Erika Eckley and Roger McEowen

The Iowa legislature’s current session involves numerous issues of importance to agricultural operators and rural landowners.  We have arranged the bills of interest by category in alphabetical order so that you can find them easier.  There are some important ones this session.  Make sure you provide your elected representative in the Iowa House or Senate with your perspective on issues of importance to you.

Here’s what we see as the most important bills at the present time.

May 1, 2013 | Roger McEowen

There were several significant developments in May of relevance to agricultural law and taxation.  Of course, the various scandals in Washington, D.C. have captured a lot of attention.  

April 1, 2013 | Roger McEowen

During April there were several major developments in the courts and with the IRS that are important to pay attention to. We highlight those in the case and rulings annotations list on the website and draw your attention to them here.

March 1, 2013 | Roger McEowen

During March there were several major developments in the courts and with the IRS that are important to pay attention to.  We highlight those in the case and rulings annotations list on the website and draw your attention to them here.

February 22, 2013 | Roger McEowen

It’s been a rough few weeks for proponents of commercial wind farming.  In September 2009, a major technical publication written by a European scientist entitled, “The Wind Farm Scam” was published which makes many points based in science, engineering, physics and mathematics to reach the conclusion that wind farms are in reality nothing more than the outgrowth of politics and favorable tax subsidies that support the industry.  Then, in October, the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously upheld a county’s ban on commercial wind farm development, citing numerous adverse effects of commercial wind

February 1, 2013 | Roger McEowen

During February, there were several important and interesting developments involving agricultural law and taxation both nationally and in Iowa.  At the state level, the Iowa Supreme Court continued to issue interesting decisions on several fronts.  

January 4, 2013 | Roger McEowen

We begin 2013 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year. Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow. The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2012 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

January 2, 2013 | Roger McEowen

Over the past month, there have been several significant developments of importance to farmer, ranchers, agribusinesses and the professionals that represent them.  In early January we posted our annual article on the Top Ten agricultural and tax developments from 2012.  If you haven’t done so already, take a look at the cases and rulings highlighted in that publication.  There were some big developments in 2012. 

December 3, 2012 | Roger McEowen

Tax legislation signed into law on January 2 (The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012) makes permanent some very significant provisions of EGTRRA enacted in 2001.  The Act also extends some provisions that had either already expired at the end of 2011 or expired at the end of 2012.

 

Real estate transferor in Iowa must file a Groundwater Hazard Statement with the County Recorder for the County in which the property is located.  The statement provides information to the buyer (as well as others) with respect to the specific types of known hazards on the property.   County Recorders typically time-stamp Groundwater Hazard Statements when filed and give them instrument numbers so that they can be included in the county real estate indexes.  This process allows the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to access the forms as part of the Iowa Land Records, and saves the

March 29, 2012 | Roger McEowen

We begin 2011 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year.  Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow.  The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2011 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

January 12, 2011 | Roger McEowen

We begin 2011 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year.  Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow.  The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2010 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

January 6, 2010 | Roger McEowen

Agricultural legal and tax developments continued to impact the agricultural sector in 2009.  Here’s the list of what we believe to be the “Top Ten” developments in 2009 based on their impact to agricultural producers and rural landowners across the nation. 

January 2, 2009 | Roger McEowen

We begin 2009 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year.  Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow.  The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2008 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

June 2, 2008 | Roger McEowen

November 2007

January 4, 2008 | Roger McEowen

We begin 2008 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year.  Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow.  The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2007 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

January 1, 2007 | Roger McEowen

We begin 2007 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year. Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow. The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2006 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

January 2, 2006 | Roger McEowen

We begin 2006 with our annual look at the most significant agricultural law developments of the previous year. Legal issues continue to be at the forefront of developments that are shaping the present and future of American agriculture, and it is very likely that the involvement of the legal system in agriculture will continue to grow. The following is my list of what I view as the top ten agricultural law developments of 2005 based on their impact (or potential impact) on U.S. agricultural producers and the sector as a whole.

April 1, 2005 | Roger McEowen

Click to read the top ten agricultural developments of 2004

Pages