December 15, 2008

Senator Raises Stink about Possible Tax on Livestock Flatulence

By U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan

In response to an Environmental Protection Agency report citing the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the belching and flatulence of cows and pigs, U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota introduced legislation, the Livestock Emissions Tax Ban Act, prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from initiating a fee on livestock owners for gaseous emissions under the Clean Air Act. Agricultural groups like the Farm Bureau have expressed concerns that the EPA's actions could eventually lead to taxes on ranchers' livestock.

"If you ever wonder why the American people view their government with distrust, just refer to this weekend's news about the deep thinking going on at the Environmental Protection Agency," said Dorgan. "In their pursuit to control global warming, somebody in the bowels of EPA's headquarters in Washington is examining greenhouse gases that come from the belching and flatulence coming from cows and pigs.

"We face a lot of serious challenges these days, but methane from cow and pig flatulence isn't among them," said Dorgan. "We expect these federal agencies to use some common sense as they develop public policy, and clearly there are much more important issues facing our nation than this one."

"So, just to clear the air (legislatively), I have introduced legislation that would prevent the EPA from implementing any scheme that would tax or otherwise charge farmers and ranchers for the methane emitted by their animals," he said. "The EPA, in response to the public disclosure of the recommendations, says that it is not proposing a tax. Maybe so. But I want to make sure they will never be able to implement a plan to charge farmers and ranchers for their animals' natural emissions."