Head of USDA’s National Organic Program steps down

Miles McEvoy, deputy administrator for the National Organic Program at the USDA, said he was stepping down Sept. 30 after eight years in the position, and moving back to his home state of Washington while he considers new opportunities.

California farmer to pay million-dollar fine in wetlands case

John Duarte, a Northern California farmer, has agreed to pay a $1.1 million penalty to settle a years-long case that started in 2012, after he bought and tilled fallow land within a federally protected wetland.

Pruitt’s EPA accused of secret phone calls and armed guards

As he works to reverse many of the environmental regulations set under the Obama administration, EPA chief Scott Pruitt has dialed up both security and secrecy at the agency.

Six states join in pesticide lawsuit against EPA

Six state prosecutors from New York, Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia are joining environmental and social advocacy groups in a lawsuit to push the EPA to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. "It is EPA's responsibility to protect Americans from unsafe chlorpyrifos residues on food because of the potential neuro-developmental and other adverse health effects caused by exposure," the prosecutors said in their filing, according to Reuters.

Trump administration says WOTUS is on its way out

The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are moving to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which clarifies which waters are federally protected from pollution under the original 1972 Clean Water Act. A statement from the agencies calls the rule, known as Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, an example of federal overreach.

Maryland joins California in restricting use of antibiotics on livestock

Gov. Larry Hogan stood aside and let a Maryland law take effect without his signature that will bar use of medically important antibiotics to promote weight gain among cattle, hogs and poultry. The Maryland law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, the same implementation date as a similar law enacted in 2015 in California, the only other state to control antibiotic use with the goal of preserving the effectiveness of the drugs to fight disease in humans.

Disease, drought, government. Pick the existential threat to farmers.

For the second time in a week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told lawmakers that government is a greater threat to U.S. farmers than drought or disease. And in nearly the same words at two House hearings, he offered the might of the U.S. government to boost farm income through larger food and ag exports.

Commerce Secretary says EPA permit regulations are a top target

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says that removing burdensome environmental permit regulations is high on his list of ways to improve the U.S. manufacturing climate. Ross plans to present the list to President Trump in May.

Four states take Interior, BLM to court over coal

California, New Mexico, New York and Washington State have sued the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management in an attempt to stop new coal leases on public lands.