The EPA is close to appointing an agriculture panel within its Scientific Advisory Board, as required by the 2014 farm bill, to review EPA actions that could negatively affect agriculture, though lawmakers are less than impressed that the action has taken this long. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told a House Ag hearing last week that “agency officials "actually as recently as last week met with USDA so we can finalize that standing committee. We understand how important that is and we have been working hard to make sure we respect people's interest in getting the right applicant pool and we will be working with USDA on those choices."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has lifted her hold on Robert Califf's nomination to head the FDA following indications from the agency that it will quickly work to finalize labeling guidance for GMO salmon. In a statement, the Alaska Republican said she "received the assurances I need that the FDA is taking this matter seriously," noting in particular a recent import ban on the GE fish and that the agency helped her draft "legislative language that would effectively mandate labeling of GE salmon."