U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have introduced bipartisan legislation that would prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from requiring livestock operations to get Clean Air Act Title V permits for greenhouse-gas emissions caused by biological processes.
Earlier this year, what's come to be known as the "cow tax" received much discussion in the industry and Washington, D.C., rumor mill, due to statements in an EPA report. EPA officials came out with at statement indicating that there is "no intention to tax livestock" for greenhouse-gas emissions..
Although such regulation by the EPA is unlikely, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applauded the senators for their effort and sent a letter supporting the Senate bill. As NCBA stated, the “Clean Air Act is fundamentally ill-suited for regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, and it was never the intent of Congress for the act to be used for this purpose. Instead, the act was intended to regulate traditional air pollutants from major emitters on a state or regional level. While the act has seen success in cleaning up criteria and other pollutants, it is not adequately equipped to address global climate change.
“Agriculture is not a minor source of GHGs overall and should not be regulated under a climate-change program. According to EPA, in 2006, greenhouse-gas emissions from the entire agriculture sector represented only 6.4 percent of total greenhouse-gas emissions in teragrams of carbon dioxide equivalents (Tg CO2 Eq) in the United States. Over half of that amount is due to emissions from soil management when growing crops.”