Cow tax emits panic

You’d think the chemical industry has big problems when it comes to carbon emissions, but the US agriculture industry is said to be in a state of panic about the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA has been gathering comments, which ended last week Friday, about its proposed GHG rule, and according to several farmers association, it would include regulating GHG emitted by dairy and livestock farms.

According to the New York Farm Bureau, any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs would have to obtain GHG permits from the EPA in order to continue to operate, claiming that farm animals are emitting massive amounts of greenhouse gases.GHG fees for the animals could be as high as $175 per cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle, and $20 per hog.

The Texas Farm Bureau also commented that farmers will not be able to pass along such costs, and that the proposed rule will drive them overseas or out of business altogether.

“While American producers will be pressured economically by a higher cost structure, foreign producers would benefit by the economic crisis imposed on the American farmer.”

The Texas Cattle Feeder Association emphasized that agriculture is a minor source of GHGs overall and should not be regulated under any climate change program.

The proposed rule also garnered several resounding “NO WAY” comments from chemical companies as well as companies and associations from other energy-intensive industries such as coal, petroleum, cement, electric power, aviation, dairy foods, etc.

2 Responses to Cow tax emits panic

  1. Pradeep 2 December, 2008 at 6:28 pm #

    Doris,
    Interesting photo!
    I should say that most of the GHG emissions from livestock are emitted during digestion of the cattle feed, from the mouth, rather than what you have shown here. One example is here (enteric fermentation contributes 49% of the lifecycle GHG emissions)

    My take on CO2 emissions from the US cement industry is here . Essentially, in the case of cement, only 4% of the total CO2 emissions are due to fuel use, the rest are from the calcination of limestone. I think that cement plants in the states participating in WCI would be the first in the US to be affected.

  2. Doris de Guzman 3 December, 2008 at 5:56 pm #

    Hi Pradeep,
    Thanks for the clarification. I guess many people assume (including me) that most methane emissions from these livestock comes from their behind.

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