Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cow Fart Tax

The EPA wants to apply Title V regulations from the Clean Air Act to agriculture. According to the Florida Farm Bureau, who ran the numbers, the Environmental Protection Agency want to make all ranchers with more than 50 head of cattle, dairy farmers with more than 25 cows, and rice farmer with more than 35 acres (plus others) file a Title V emissions report for the methane their livestock or crops release. That's right, ranchers will have to report their cow farts to the government, and pay a tax based on them.

Most of the published outrage has been about taxes, which are significant, but as anyone who has worked in refineries or chemical plants will tell you, the taxes are a small part of the Title V problem. Title V permitting is a long and tedious process that requires submitting a permit proposal to the government, who then sends it back to the company with their suggestions, and the process repeats itself until they can come to an agreement. One facility where I worked had 5 people who worked full time on Title V permitting for several years. This process would bankrupt all but the large corporate ranchers and farmers. If it passes, it will put all of the remaining independent for-profit farmers and ranchers out of business. Only corporate agriculture and really small-scale agriculture by hobbyists will remain.

God save the American Farmer!

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