Ninth Circuit Overturns Lower Court Decision Vacating ESA Reforms
In July, Legislative Bulletin reported that a federal district court in California had vacated three Trump-era Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations. The court’s decision reimposed the “blanket 4(d)” rule, by which all ESA endangered species protections were automatically extended to species merely listed as threatened; permitted the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to disregard the economic effects of its decisions on small businesses and rural communities; and eliminated regulations meant to streamline inter-agency consultation. CCA and several other industry advocates had been strong supporters of the Trump-era reforms vacated by the lower court judge.
On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order overturning the lower court’s vacatur of the three ESA regulations.
The Ninth Circuit’s ruling means that the Trump-Era regulatory reforms remain in effect. That said, the Biden Administration last year signaled its intent to rescind and replace the rules, and may move forward to rescind the reforms via the administrative rulemaking process.
CCA will continue to advocate for ESA reform and will engage in any forthcoming rulemaking process seeking to protect common-sense ESA regulations.
Governor Proclaims Wildfire Emergencies in Madera, Modoc and Siskiyou Counties
Last Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed states of emergency “for Madera County due to the Fork Fire, Modoc County due to the Barnes Fire and Siskiyou County due to the Mountain Fire.”
While the Fork, Barnes and Mountain Fires had been either fully- or largely-contained by the time of Governor Newsom’s emergency proclamation, a press release announcing the proclamation notes that the order “enables the counties to access resources under the California Disaster Assistance Act, expedites debris removal and cleanup of hazardous waste resulting from the fires and supports impacted residents by easing access to unemployment benefits and waiving fees to replace documents such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates.”
This is the latest of several wildfire emergency proclamations issued by the Governor this summer. Most prior fires necessitating emergency declarations – including Siskiyou County’s Mill and McKinney Fires, Riverside’s Fairview Fire and Madera’s Oak Fire – have been largely or fully extinguished. As of this morning, the Mosquito Fire in the Sierra foothills has burned 76,781 acres, making it the largest blaze to date in California’s 2022 fire season. The Mosquito Fire is currently at 85% containment.
CCA will continue to keep membership informed about state and federal responses to wildfires within the state. Additional information about these and other wildfire incidents can be found via Cal Fire and InciWeb.
Newsom Enters Final Week to Act on Legislation
Under California’s Constitution, Governor Newsom has through the end of this week to sign or veto bills sent to his desk before the Legislative Session ended on August 31 (should Newsom fail to sign or veto a bill by September 30, it becomes a statute by operation of law).
Newsom spent much of the past week out of state in New York and Texas and was unable to act on legislation while outside the state’s borders. Between trips, the Governor did sign CCA-supported SB 856 (Dodd), a bill intended to reduce the population of wild pigs through increased hunting. CCA is still awaiting the Governor’s action on several pieces of priority legislation, including AB 211, the public resources budget trailer bill; AB 558 (Nazarian), a school nutrition bill CCA supports after successfully ensuring that plant-based meal incentives were amended out of the bill; and SB 926 (Dodd), which would establish a Prescribed Fire Claims Fund.
Before departing for New York for Climate Week NYC, Newsom signed into law several bills tackling climate change which he’d called on the Legislature to advance in the final month of Session.
Among the “sweeping climate measures” Newsom signed into law on September 16 were a measure to codify the State’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045; a bill which directs the California Air Resources Board to issue regulations regarding carbon capture, utilization and sequestration; legislation directing the Natural Resources Agency to set “an ambitious range of targets for natural carbon sequestration” on natural and working lands through 2045; and a bill, SB 1137 (Gonzalez), requiring new oil wells to be sited at least 3,200 feet from schools, parks and residences.
That last measure has already been challenged: last Monday, a proposed referendum on SB 1137 was filed with the Attorney General’s office. If the referendum qualifies for the 2024 ballot, it will prevent the measure from taking effect until after the voters approve or reject the measure.
Legislative Bulletin will provide a final update on the 2021-22 Legislative Session next week. Next Monday’s episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast of will also discuss some of CCA’s wins and highlights from the Session. For a full recap of Session, see the November edition of California Cattleman.
SWRCB Updates Curtailments on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta River Watershed
Due to recent precipitation events, several previous curtailments issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) have been suspended. As of last Tuesday, there is no longer any watershed-wide curtailment of the Sacramento River watershed. That said, there remain curtailments on specific subwatersheds in the Sacramento River watershed. These include appropriative water rights for the Putah Creek subwatershed with a priority date of 1924 and later and the Yuba River subwatershed with a priority date of 1961 and later.
As reported in previous Legislative Bulletin updates, all appropriative water rights within the San Joaquin River watershed have been curtailed with a priority date of 1900 or later. Additionally, water rights within the Merced River subwatershed with a priority date of 1859 or later and in the Mokelumne River subwatershed with a priority date of 1890 or later. In addition to these watershed-wide curtailments, all appropriative and riparian water rights within the Chowchilla River subwatershed are also still curtailed.
For questions about curtailment and suspension notices or how to comply, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country
Stories from California Cattle Country, “The Swickards at Five Dot Ranch in Susanville, Calif.” is out now. To listen to the episode click here. Stories from California Cattle Country is produced by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council. If you want a glimpse into our travels, follow the podcast’s Instagram account @calcattlecountry.
LAST CHANCE: CCA Scholarships Due Saturday
Applications for the 2022 CCA Scholarships are due this Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. CCA awarded $63,000 in scholarships to students studying agriculture, although scholarship amounts and quantities vary year to year. Current CCA members (producer, feeder or YCC) that are currently enrolled at a university or college are eligible to apply. Past recipients of her CCA scholarship program may also apply again this year. For a complete list of awards and to download the application visit calcattlemen.org/scholarships. Contact Maureen in the CCA office at email@example.com with any questions.
2022 CCA Internship Applications Due Oct. 10
Internship applications are open for the 2022 CCA/CCW Convention happening Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev. Selected interns will help run CCA’s tradeshow booth, onsite registration and other behind the scenes tasks at the event, they will also get to attend select meetings of interest, general sessions and the tradeshow with complimentary lodging and registration. Additionally, the interns will get to interact with CCA leadership and staff, as well as industry leaders at the best attended meeting of the year. To apply please send a resume and cover letter to Maureen LaGrande at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, October 10, 2022, at 11:59pm PST. Applicant must be a young, regular or feeder member of the California Cattlemen’s Association and must be a current undergraduate, master, school of law or veterinary student attending or enrolled in a junior college, four-year college, university or law school (high school students are not eligible). Learn more about the event at calcattlemen.org/convention2022.