According to an American Farm Bureau Federation press release, legislation introduced today to prevent a “cow tax” on farmers and ranchers is both “timely and critical.”
In a letter to the bill’s sponsors, Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), AFBF commended their bipartisan efforts and said the organization would work with them to ensure that the legislation gains broad support.
The Thune-Schumer bill would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing Title V operating permits on U.S. agriculture operations under the Clean Air Act. Those permits automatically result in mandatory fees.
If EPA were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the act, as the agency indicated it was considering last year in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, AFBF calculated that it could cost farmers and ranchers $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per beef cow and $21.87 per hog. The fees were arrived at using publicly available government data.
“The concerns farmers raise are real,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “They are all the more pressing now as the agency is reportedly looking at potentially regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.”
AFBF brought attention to the potential operating fees last year when EPA’s proposed rulemaking was published, along with a statement by the Agriculture Department that it would result in increased regulation of farming operations. The reaction from farmers and ranchers across the country was swift and widespread, leading to the legislators’ commitment to work on legislation.