EPA moving ahead with tax on cow flatulence and manure proposal

UPDATE 03/18/09: The Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead with their proposed tax on cow flatulence and manure.

Their plan is to make a nationwide system dedicated to keeping track of greenhouse emissions at about 13,000 facilities, such as feedlots and other confined animal-feeding operations.

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email
By Bob Hallmark - bio - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - It's a tax proposal they say will help save the environment. The EPA wants to tax livestock to help reduce greenhouse gasses.

Of course, those who depend on raising livestock for a living think the whole idea, well, smells bad!

The EPA classifies cattle and pigs as stationary sources of greenhouse gases because they emit methane naturally. In a news release, the Environmental Protection Agency is considering the idea of a tax on cows and pigs.

"Methane emissions from livestock has been around for years ever since livestock has been on the face of the earth," said Dennis Smith a Gregg County Ag Extension Agent

For those who's livelihoods depend on raising cattle and hogs, they're hoping the government doesn't make a big, well, stink. Livestock owners, like C.E. Rodgers and Sons, say the tax could be disastrous, and the idea that it would make any difference environmentally, really smells.

"Its the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of , total ridiculousness, its laughable actually," said David Walters of C.E. Rodgers & Sons

"I can't even imagine something [like that]. It just seems crazy," said Paula Walters of C.E. Walters and Sons.

The proposed tax would be based on numbers of animals owned. Dairy cows would be 175 dollars each, beef cattle 87 dollars each, and 20 dollars per hog, something owners find worse than methane.

"[With all] the beef and pork we produce, that would be just devastating," said Walters.

"I would say that farmers and ranchers we're very concerned about another cost," said Smith.

"They just need to get a life or something, its insane," said David Walters.

The idea leaves a foul odor with ranchers.

The tax proposal is just that, a proposal. No word on when, or if, the tax would be considered by the EPA or congress.