Climate change discussions heated up another notch this week following official word on Friday from the Environmental Protection Agency that it would seek to regulate greenhouse gases.
That announcement, which many believed was imminent, is helping to form a consensus around a legislative approach to the climate change issue – a path praised by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Barack Obama.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee held four hearings including 50 witnesses on the issue this week, with a mark-up of draft legislation scheduled for next week. Energy and Commerce leaders have indicated they plan to finish Committee work on the bill before Memorial Day.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), speaking before reporters and agriculture representatives at a North American Ag Journalists event this week, said he was involved in internal discussions representing agriculture interests.
NAWG Director of Government Affairs Mark Gaede participated this week in a briefing and press event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y). This was one of a number of meetings Gaede has participated in with other agricultural groups and House leadership in order to emphasize the importance of a role for agriculture in climate change legislation.
In yet another development, a subset of agricultural groups that released nine principles for GHG legislation last month have expanded on those principles in a series of new briefing papers. Those papers and more on this issue are available online at www.wheatworld.org/issues/climatechange.
NAWG has not endorsed any bill on this topic, but has aggressively shared a set of principles for agriculture’s role in a cap-and-trade framework.