Ag Today September 16, 2019

Gavin Newsom says he’ll veto Trump-defying California environmental bill [Sacramento Bee]

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday declined to pick a fight with the Trump administration, announcing he’d veto a bill that would have preserved Obama-era environmental policies and negated the Republican’s regulations. Newsom announced his opposition to Senate Bill 1 several hours after California lawmakers approved it early Saturday morning, closing a week in which the Trump administration rolled back a 2015 water pollution regulation that aimed to protect wetlands….But ultimately the bill went too far for some top California Democrats, notably Newsom and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Powerful farm and water groups said the bill would threaten water-sharing agreements negotiated with Newsom’s team.


News Analysis: California’s Legislature tackled big issues in 2019. Bigger fights might be coming [Los Angeles Times]

Sixteen weeks will pass between the first and second acts of the California Legislature’s two-year session, an intermission that began Saturday and is often seen as a chance to switch gears from one set of topics to another. But this time, the second year could be consumed by battles left over from the first….The most visible and far-reaching battle of the year was over Assembly Bill 5, a pugnacious effort to ensure that a million or more California workers would be added to the ranks of those who qualify as employees of a business. The subject of intense negotiations, the legislation tested the relationship between Democrats and organized labor….It’s expected that requests for industry exemptions will continue into next year, most notably by powerful technology companies.


California bullet train’s mishandling of land deals adds to mounting costs and delays [Los Angeles Times]

…Seven years after its land buying program began, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has yet to acquire hundreds of parcels, even though the state has the power to condemn property in the way of its future tracks. At the same time, the rail authority has become landlord to surplus acreage that serves no purpose in furthering high-speed rail but still must be managed by the state….The California High-Speed Rail Authority is now a player in the agriculture industry with at least 466 acres of land under cultivation, a side effect of having to purchase entire fields just to acquire a corner for the rail route.


California steps up multimillion-dollar battle to eradicate nutria from state wetlands [KPIX-TV, San Francisco]

There’s no certain answer as to how the nutria population re-emerged after being declared eradicated in California decades ago but the population is spreading and causing serious concern….The state of California is mobilizing to stop the spread with a nearly $10 million effort that now stretches from Merced County to Stockton….While the nutria pose a huge threat to Central Valley’s agriculture and its wildlife, the real damage would come if the nutria spread north of Interstate 580 and into the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta where the rodents, which burrow deep into the ground, would threaten the levees….California may have no choice but to stop them now. The costs of an infestation would be much higher and stopping the nutria is something the state may only get one shot at.


Lawmakers make long-shot bid to check presidential tariff powers [Wall Street Journal]

In Sen. Jerry Moran ’s home state of Kansas, support for President Trump remains high. But so does anxiety among farmers and manufacturers about the economic fallout from the tariffs Mr. Trump has imposed….Mr. Moran and some other Republicans—including Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee—are searching for ways to team up with Democrats to reassert congressional authority over the levying of tariffs. They aim to curb the type of tariff-by-tweet policy-making that has whipsawed markets and stressed U.S. businesses in recent months.


Opinion: Time for a World Trade Organization 2.0 [Wall Street Journal]

No one seems to care if the World Trade Organization—the world’s only global trade regime—withers….We are witnessing what global trade absent the WTO is like. It is a world of dueling proclamations, where tariffs and quotas get applied and removed willy-nilly. Those who support open trade and fear the damage of trade wars don’t have to accede to the WTO’s demise. They can insist that the WTO be reformed, and they can seek the construction of a new global trade regime that excludes China.