The Week Ahead: House to Mark Up Farm Bill, WTO to Decide on Panel for China Dispute


The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up a draft farm bill July 11 that would cut $6 billion over 10 years from conservation programs and save $500 million by eliminating mandatory funding for energy programs and reducing discretionary energy spending for reauthorized programs.

Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) described the draft Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) as a bipartisan bill that saves taxpayers billions of dollars.

More details of FARRM are provided in a July 5 World Climate Change Reportarticle.

The Senate's version of the farm bill (S.3240), approved June 21, preserved $800 million in mandatory funding for renewable energy projects on farms and other rural areas.

Details of the Senate's Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act are provided in a June 22 article.

House Subcommittees to Hold Energy Hearings

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold two hearings this week as part of its American Energy Initiative. On July 10, the subcommittee will focus on alternative fuels and vehicles, while on July 12, the subcommittee hearing will discuss draft legislation, including the No More Solyndras Act and the Smart Energy Act.

On July 11, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on “Renewable Identification Numbers Fraud: EPA’s Efforts to Ensure Market Integrity in the Renewable Fuels Program."

WTO to Consider Request for Panel

The World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body on July 10 will take up a request for a panel to rule on whether China's restrictions on exports of rare earths violate global trade rules.

The United States, the European Union, and Japan are seeking the a ruling, claiming the restrictions, in the form of export duties, export quotas, and other measures, violate WTO rules.

As discussed in a June 28 article, rare earth materials are key inputs in a multitude of manufacturing sectors, including hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, energy-efficient lighting, steel, advanced electronics, and more.

California Climate/Energy Events

On July 9, the California Air Resources Board's Climate Action Team Public Health Workgroup will hold a meeting to review the state's adaption strategy, including heat adaptation guidance. A Local Climate Adaptation Policy Guide also is expected to be released.

CARB will also hold a public workshop July 12 to discuss compliance by crude oil producers with the state's low-carbon fuel standard, which requires transportation fuels to be 10 percent less carbon-intensive by 2020.

Staff will present for public review a draft version of the Oil Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator, including preliminary estimates of carbon intensity values for crude supplied to California refineries in 2010.