**Bills to delist gray wolves in the Great Lakes region, give other states a larger role in listing imperiled species and cap attorney fees to Endangered Species Act litigants were the subjects of debate at a House Natural Resources Committee hearing last week.

The bills are the latest attempt to weaken the ESA by Republican lawmakers who claim the law cripples economic progress and does little more than prevent species extinction instead of actually facilitating the species' recovery.

**China has signed off on the sanitary and phytosanitary protocols that will open up its market to U.S. rice

The USDA announced the U.S. and China finished working out the issues that would allow the U.S. to export rice to China about a year ago, but then China mysteriously held back from ratifying them and offered no explanation.

China consumes about 144 million tons of rice every year and is the world’s largest rice importing country.

**As procedural activity on a bill that would expand sales of higher ethanol blends quiets, opposition to the measure is getting louder.

Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe criticized the bill last week, just hours after a varied group of organizations sounded off against the legislation, which would allow the sale of E15 during the summer.

The bill would amend a provision in the Clean Air Act to extend a Reid Vapor Pressure waiver currently capped at a 10 percent ethanol blend, the most commonly used, to a 15 percent blend.


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