A bill slashing Environmental Protection Agency funding and blocking several of its new regulations is scheduled to pass through the House Appropriations Committee, this week. Republicans are pushing an Interior and Environment funding bill that cuts $718 million, or 9 percent, from the EPA’s budget in fiscal 2016, on top of the 20 percent cut the agency has absorbed since Republicans took the House in 2011. The bill also includes policy riders meant to block agency rule-making, such as the ‘Waters of the U.S.” rule. Senators could introduce their version of the bill during the week as well.

Producers may now formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for 2014 and 2015. The enrollment period begins today and will end September 30th. The new programs trigger financial protections for agricultural producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues. More than 1.76 million farmers have elected ARC or PLC. Previously, 1.7 million producers had enrolled to receive direct payments.