Reader Myrtle finds a gem from Wyoming's John Barasso. Amendment 765 demands that "climate change legislation decrease greenhouse gas emissions without regulating carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, water vapor, or methane emissions from biological processes associated with livestock production. In other words, stay away from cow farts.
This isn't just quixotic. Livestock production is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. And the Cattle Network has identified the danger. Back in November, they were tripping out over the EPA's announcement that it was edging towards declaring carbon a pollutant. If that happens, they said:
Title V of the Clean Air Act requires that any entity with the potential to emit more than 100 tons per year of a regulated pollutant must obtain a permit in order to continue to operate...[and] the vast majority of livestock operations would easily meet the 100 ton threshold and fall under regulation. In fact, USDA has stated that any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, or 50 beef cattle would have to obtain permits. According to USDA statistics, this would cover about 99 percent of dairy production and over 90 percent of beef production in the United States.
As the proposal stands today, the permit fees would equate to a "tax" of $175 per dairy cow and $87.50 per beef cow.
John Barasso is trying to make sure that doesn't happen. And the United States Senate passed his amendment with a unanimous voice vote. As for the carbon emitted amidst livestock production? That's trickier. On the one hand, interest groups will battle viciously to keep it off the books. And on the other, it's too funny -- cow farts! -- for politicians to advocate and the public to take seriously.