Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Law

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

EPA Proposal Takes Great Steps to Broaden Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

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By: Connor Egan, Editor-in-Chief

On March 25, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule amending the Clean Water Act.[1] The proposal is a response to a near decade of demand by state and federal legislators and environmental groups to clarify the extent of the Act’s jurisdiction.[2]

Friday, April 18, 2014

UK College of Law: KLJ & KJEANRL Hold Annual Banquet

The University of Kentucky College of Law recently reported: The Kentucky Law Journal (KLJ) and the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Law (KJEANRL) held their annual banquet on Wednesday, March 26, at the Boone Center. There were roughly 140 attendees, including faculty and members of both journals. 

Rachel King, Editor-in-Chief of the KJEANRL, and Sarah Lawson, Editor-in-Chief of the KLJ, each gave a short “State of the Journal Address.” Then Judge Jennifer Coffman delivered the keynote address to the banquet attendees, highlighting the importance of developing leadership skills. She was introduced by Dean Brennen, who also said a few words. Awards were presented by each Editor-in-Chief of the respective journals.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Horse Owner’s Tax Checklist

By: Matthew Doane, Staff Member

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With tax day upon us, horse owners must be cautious if they are attempting to deduct business expenses related to their horse activity. Section 183(a) of the Internal Revenue Code states, “[i]n the case of an activity engaged in by an individual or an S corporation, if such activity is not engaged in for profit, no deduction attributable to such activity shall be allowed under this chapter except as provided in this section.”[i] If an activity is not “engaged in for profit,” provision (b) of section 183 allows deductions only to the extent of gross income derived from the activity.[ii] Deemed the “hobby loss rules,”[iii] this means that if an individual’s horse activity does not rise to the level of “engaged in for profit,” but is simply a hobby, then that individual will only be able to deduct allowable expenses up to the threshold of income they have received relating to the activity.[iv] This can lead to serious tax implications if a taxpayer was planning on horse-related expenses being deductible, primarily larger tax liability, or in the case of previous tax year where a taxpayer included the deductions, an audit by the IRS. In 2011, this exact situation occurred, leading to a Tax Court opinion that provides some guidance to horse owners and the deductibility of horse-related expenses. [v]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Defend the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund

By: Sean Courtney, Staff Member

The Attorney General for the State of Michigan is Bill Schuette and he has been a staunch upholder of the Michigan Constitution.[i] Recently, he spoke about the need to preserve the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) for its intended purpose.[ii] In 1984, the MNRTF began by an amendment to the Michigan Constitution.[iii] The MNRTF “is used to develop public recreation lands and is supported by oil, gas, and other mineral lease and royalty payments.” [iv] Thus, “the trust fund is constitutionally restricted for natural resources improvements and land acquisitions across the state.”[v] Since Michigan passed a constitutional amendment, legislators should not be allowed to reallocate money from the Trust Fund for their own “programs or projects.”[vi] Recent economic troubles in Michigan have led to a desire by lawmakers for the money to go elsewhere despite the constitutional implications involved.[vii] Attorney General Schutte has been clear in his directive through an “official opinion” that the Michigan legislature cannot do that.[viii] Schuette should continue to defend the MNRTF and ensure that the legislature allocates money from the fund properly.

Friday, April 4, 2014

War on Coal: The Selenium Battle

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By: Elizabeth Combs, Staff Member

Selenium is a naturally occurring metalloid element that can conduct electricity[i]. While small amounts of this element are essential to human and animal life, large amounts of selenium can cause deformities and disease in certain animals[ii] and harm humans.[iii] Although selenium is naturally occurring in certain places in our environment, such as within the selenium-rich coal seams and rock layers found in the mountains of Kentucky,[iv] it can become dangerous once released into the air and water.[v] Throughout many Central Appalachian states, including Kentucky, selenium is often exposed as a result of mountaintop removal coal mining activities,[vi] causing it to be discharged into streams and ground water.[vii] Once released into water systems, selenium accumulates in the tissues of fish and other aquatic animals.[viii] Harmful effects, such as abnormal spine curvature and bulging eyes[ix] [as seen in the photos above], can result if the amount of selenium contained in the tissue reaches toxic levels.[x]