Climate change discussions heated up another notch last week following official word on Friday from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 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 this 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-MN) and National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) Director of Government Affairs Mark Gaede participated this week in a briefing and press event with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY). 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 has expanded on those principles in a series of new briefing papers. Those papers and more on this issue are available online at Wheat World. 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.