Farm Bill Due for Markup
On July 5, the House released a draft farm bill which is scheduled for markup on July 11. After the bill has gone through markups in the committee, the bill will head to the House floor for debate. Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) previously anticipated late June for markup, but action was delayed due to the lengthy negotiations of FY 2013 spending measure.
On June 21 the Senate passed a five-year farm bill which would eliminate farm support programs and replace them with a revenue protection program known as Agriculture Risk Coverage.
If the bill is not completed before the September 30 deadline, a potential extension could push the farm bill into next fiscal year where it will compete with the negotiations of several other large topics such as budget sequester and tax issues.
SEC Proposed Rules
On Monday July 2, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a vote regarding possible rules change which would mandate oil companies to reveal payment amounts received by foreign governments regarding payments for production licenses, taxes, royalties and other aspects of energy and mineral projects in countries where they operate. The rules would disclose information on a continual base to stakeholders regarding the management of oil, gas and mineral resources and revenues. Major oil companies are pushing the SEC to include various exemptions regarding the requirements which could result in a competitive disadvantage against state-owned or state-controlled companies not included in the mandates when competing for contracts. Major oil companies are also pushing for exemptions which would allow information to be released in broader terms as opposed to the specific details the regulations potentially could mandate companies to reveal continually.
Natural Gas Production in North Dakota
The State Department of Mineral Resources statistics show record levels of natural gas byproduct burned during oil production in North Dakota for the month of April. Statistics show a two percent increase in the byproduct within the month of April. Records show the percentage of natural gas which flared in April was at 34 percent, which is two percent lower than the September 2011 record high of 36 percent. The flares burn natural gas during the extraction of oil, releases nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide and other emissions with public health risks into the atmosphere and are considered a wasteful practice.